Since 1985, thousands of rosy-cheeked wine drinkers have flocked to the Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum. This year the event featured 37 different Maryland wineries from as close as Hampstead, all the way to Easton. Though many students attend or hear about large festivals like this, little is known in the halls of McDaniel about all that the Farm Museum has to offer.
On September 15th and 16th, the Farm Museum’s grounds were packed with large tents for vendors offering various foods, drinks, and crafts. Attendees gathered around picnic blankets and coolers, while enjoying fine wines with family and friends.
Music played throughout the entire festival from a central location as various acts performed live. Many members of the McDaniel community were in attendance.
“While sitting in a single spot, I would look around and see three groups of students that I recognized from class, two teachers, and a few alumni scattered about,” said Sean Lamarre, senior at McDaniel College.
It is a feel-good festival in all aspects: great food, good music, and judging by the faces of my fellow attendees, good wine.
“My husband and I met at the Wine Festival in 1986,” said Ginger Jefferson, a local wine aficionado who has attended every festival since. “For us it’s like an anniversary, so it’s a very special time.”
The popularity of the Wine Festival is understandable when you consider that the highest attendance ever recorded for the entire two day event was over 25,000. The busiest single day was recorded on September 18, 2010: over 16,700 people in attendance.
What is less understandable is how little of is known in the halls of McDaniel regarding the Farm Museum and all it has to offer, aside from the Wine Festival.
“We don’t want to keep this place a best kept secret,” said Dottie Freeman, Park Superintendant of the Farm Museum.
The Wine Festival features over 30 wineries, over 70 craft sellers, over 30 food vendors, and many opportunities to educate oneself about the process of growing grapes and making wine. Indeed it is a multi-faceted event.
The Farm Museum features over 140 acres of land, over 20 different buildings, and a multitude of events and camps that run year-round. The museum is multi-faceted as well.
“The Wine Festival has put the Carroll County Farm Museum on the map,” said Dottie Freeman, but she fears that the McDaniel community may overlook what the museum has to offer aside from its larger events.
The museum grounds host a number of activities to help the community stay in touch with its heritage. Civil war era reenactments, antique fire and steam equipment shows, and blacksmithing demonstrations all offer a glimpse into the past.
The museum’s Fall Harvest Days, a popular event on the grounds, offers traditional autumn activities, country food and crafts, and live music performances. This year, the Fall Harvest Days are taking place at the Farm Museum on October 20th and 21st.
The Farm Museum has a great deal to offer the McDaniel community, aside from the larger events. The museum’s beautiful grounds are kept in excellent shape. They provide ample space for quiet studying or picnicking while enjoying the fresh air. Also, there are many buildings and areas at the museum that can be rented out for functions.
Organizations and clubs on campus could benefit greatly from the affordably priced rental spaces. Barns and larger buildings are available for gatherings and conferences while the amphitheatre and other areas at the museum provide excellent venues for live performances.
Consider all the attractions that the Farm Museum has to offer alongside its close proximity to campus, and you quickly realize that you may have written off one of the best resources in the area as “another boring museum.” This is not the case.
The expansive grounds at the Carroll County Farm Museum facilitate a number of great events and features that may benefit us McDanielites. Visit the museum at 500 S Center St in Westminster, and see what it has to offer.
Additional information regarding the museum can be accessed on their website.