Johnson County Parks and Recreation will host its annual Fall Fest at Mildale Farm from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Halloween, Oct. 31. The popular, free event includes a variety of activities including hayrides, a pumpkin patch for kids, fishing, storytelling and opportunities to explore the site.
The 158-acre Mildale Farm in southwest Johnson County was purchased by the JCPRD in 2005. It includes a premier 22-acre special event venue that’s available for rental throughout the year, and an additional 136 acres of agricultural property.
“Last year’s event was busier than ever before,” said facility rental coordinator Sarah Vogelsberg. “This annual event is such a wonderful opportunity to experience Mildale Farm. The highly-manicured property is a treat for people of all ages. It’s not just for children – adults like making s’mores too. I encourage everyone to bring a picnic lunch or breakfast and enjoy the free activities”
Vogelsberg said more than 1,000 people attended last year’s event. An exit off Interstate 35 at Homestead Lane also makes it much easier to access the Mildale Farm site.
A number of fall-related activities are being planned for the Fall Fest, all of which are free to the public. A large pumpkin patch, where children 12 and under can pick out a pumpkin, will be situated in front of the main barn. Cider and hot cocoa will be provided in the barn, as will information on other JCPRD programs and activities. A tractor-drawn hayride will take visitors to a fire circle in the south-central portion of the site, where they can roast marshmallows and enjoy storytelling. A putting green with kid-sized clubs will also be available.
Plans for the event are still being finalized, but Vogelsberg said she anticipates it will include an acknowledgement and celebration of JCPRD’s 60th anniversary as well.
Catch-and-release fishing in any or all of seven ponds within the 158-acre area will also be offered during Fall Fest. While District fishing permits have been waived for this event, Kansas residents ages 16 to 74 and nonresidents 16 and older need to have a Kansas state fishing license. These will not be sold on-site.
Visitors can also explore and picnic on the grounds. Restrooms will be available, but the property’s two homes and other outbuildings will not be open during this event.
The centerpiece of the Mildale Farm property is the high-quality equestrian-style barn, which features peg construction and a hand-laid brick floor. Though designed with an equestrian motif, the barn has never been used for keeping animals and has been utilized as a rental location for social functions, including weddings, family gatherings, and other social and business events. Inquiries regarding information or reservations for Mildale Farm should be directed to Sarah Vogelsberg at (913) 826-2957.
Remember, no alcohol is allowed, pets must be on-leash, and vehicles must remain on roadways. Park police will be on hand to enforce these rules as well as the catch-and-release fishing provision.
Milldale Farm is located at 35250 W. 199th St.