PLANNING - Ian Warwick, executive director of the Sunnybrook Farm Museum, is excited about Spring on the Farm - a launch of the new season which takes place this weekend. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Spring on the Farm coming up at the Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Lots of family activities set to run at the site this Saturday

Staff and volunteers of the Sunnybrook Farm Museum are excited about kicking off a brand new season packed with fun activities and events running through the summer.

To that end, lots of activities are planned for ‘Spring on the Farm’ which runs May 26th from 8 to 4 p.m. Highlights run the gamut from a special country breakfast, face painting, family activities, and a chance to meet the baby animals that are going to live at the farm through the summer.

There will also be an antique tractor pull, a cookie walk and more.

Admission is by donation.

“Our first major event of the season is ‘Spring on the Farm’,” said Ian Warwick, executive director.

“It’s kind of a two-day event now – we have a garage sale on Friday (from noon to 8 p.m.) which raises fund for the Museum for our summer programs for kids. And then Saturday is the event called ‘Spring on the Farm’ which runs from 8 to 4 p.m. It’s a fun day to come and visit the Museum.”

According to the web site, Sunnybrook Farm Museum celebrates the early days of Alberta farming. Its mission is to, “Promote learning about rural life in Central Alberta from the 1880s through to the 1950s through preservation, interpretation, and a living farm community.”

Warwick described the 10-acre site as a remarkable gift that has been given to the community from the Bower family.

“This is also our 30th anniversary, so in 1988 Norman and Iva Bower made their original gift of land and the buildings to the people of Red Deer,” he said. “There are really amazing, heritage buildings on the site and his house, where he lived until 2000,” added Warwick.

“Even though they donated the land in 1988, he lived here for another 12 years.”

Norman passed away in 2002.

Over the years, there has been steady development of displays and attractions at the site as well.

“We’ve spent $1.16 million on the south end of the property, so we’ve got these new buildings that are meant to tell the history of the farm community. It’s the store, the co-op, the garage and the Calder School and eventually a nice little chapel and maybe a train station or an elevator could be in the long-term future for the south end,” he said.

Warwick said the feedback from visitors is always great, as people are often amazed that the serene site is nestled right in the midst of the City.

“We also have 85 volunteers that give almost 10,000 hours here to maintain the site. They are here everyday – mowing the grass, restoring tractors – doing all of the work that goes on behind the scenes that also includes fundraising and running the concession. So there is just a tremendous community effort behind the place as well.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve done a lot to develop the site with the new buildings, too.”

As mentioned, the Calder School building is an exciting addition as it will eventually house offices and will also feature a year-round exhibition space. “We are really looking forward to year-round programming there. That’s a big deal to us – to get that open and running,” he added.

Meanwhile, other events planned over the next while include Lunch at the Farm on June 27th from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Other Lunch at the Farm dates include July 11th and 25th, and Aug. 8th and 29th.

There are also summer day camps for kids ages five through 11.

“We also have one of the most popular school programs in Central Alberta – we have 2,800 school kids through May and June. It’s really hands-on.”

For more information about the Sunnybrook Farm Museum, call 403-340-3511 or visit www.sunnybrookfarmmuseum.ca.

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