Celebrate the harvest at Yates Mill

Spinning a yarn with Judy at the 2009 Harvest Festival

The weather is cooling off and the leaves will soon be turning – that means it’s time to celebrate the fall harvest with your friends at Yates Mill.

Join us on Saturday, Sept. 15, for a bushel-load of family fun at Historic Yates Mill County park’s annual Harvest Festival. It’s our regular corn-grinding weekend, but much, much more is planned.

Yates Mill Associates will sell hand-made crafts including crocheted caps, scarves and kids’ handbags; earrings; holiday cards; hand-painted silk scarves; placemat sets; and much more. Plus, as usual, we’ll have cornmeal and souvenirs for sale in the mill yard, where you can buy tickets for mill tours every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. (Tours will be held Sunday as well from 1 p.m. to 3:40 p.m.) As ever, proceeds help Yates Mill Associates in its mission of maintaining and operating this 200-year-old mill for the enjoyment of you, your family and your friends.

Family fun - the corn-shucking contest at a past harvest festival

Many more activities will start throughout the park at 11 a.m. Saturday. Try your hand at making corn husk dolls and wheat weaving. Listen to storytellers and folk musicians including Osei Appiagyei and the Kudzu Ramblers. Take a look at vintage cars and tractors. Watch the kids take off for a scavenger hunt. Download a flyer with more details.

And – best of all for us cornmeal aficionados – you can show off your culinary creativity by entering the annual Cornmeal Cook-Off. Celebrity judges including cookbook author Debbie Moose will award prizes to adult and youth competitors, with the grand prize-winner taking home a $50 gift certificate to the Raleigh Times/Morning Times restaurants and a porcelain mortar and pestle from Williams-Sonoma. Download this flyer for full contest rules and an entry form.

The Tar Heel Traveler crew gets a lesson in shelling corn from volunteer Chris Hemmer. Thanks to the Yates Mill park staff for all these photos!

Keep an eye on WRAL’s evening news – Scott Mason and the Tarheel Traveler crew filmed a segment at the park recently to publicize the event. We’re told it should air on Sept. 13, the Thursday before the festival, and be put on their website as well. Thanks to park staff member Hilary Goodnow for setting up the coverage. YMA thanks WRAL, as well as The News & Observer and the Visit Raleigh blog, for recent articles about the upcoming festivities.

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