By Sandra Zunino
Autumn: It’s the time for pumpkins, apple cider and celebrating a bountiful harvest. For locals, one way to partake in autumn festivities is to visit Pickering Creek Audubon Center for the annual Harvest Hoedown on Sunday, October 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
“This is a celebration about fall and everything good about the Eastern Shore,” says Center Director Mark Scallion.
A family-oriented event, the Hoedown offers fun, food and music to delight people of all ages. This year, organizers provided a great selection of music from live blues and bluegrass sounds of four different groups on the main stage, and the music of Slim Harrison and Norm Hoagland on the Kid’s Stage. Main stage headliners are local bluegrass celebrities, Bitter Creek, playing from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., preceded by Alan Girard and Meredith Lathbury at 11:00 a.m., the Oil City Ramblers at 12:00 p.m., and Rick Forrest and Mark Ingino at 1:00 p.m.
Local artisans, including soap makers, basket makers, potters, herb crafters, and fresh local produce growers will line Pickering’s country lane and fill farm sheds demonstrating their skills and offering goods for purchase.
“The Pen,” also known as the Children’s Area, will feature hands-on craft activities, games, interactive music, face painting and more. Little Trains will zoom children around the farm in their unique race-car-painted oil drums on wheels. Families can explore the wetland overlook, the Herb Garden and Children’s Imagination garden, hike Pickering’s nature trails and ride the “Hayride Express.”
“Mr. Jim,” a replica Chesapeake Bay Buyboat from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, will provide boat rides from the new Pickering Creek Pier.
Pickering Creek Audubon Center, a partnership between Audubon Maryland-DC and the Chesapeake Audubon Society, is a 400-acre working farm. The Center’s property features a variety of habitats including mature hardwood forest, fresh and brackish marsh, meadow, tidal and non-tidal wetlands, over a mile of shoreline on Pickering Creek, and cropland.
Additionally, the center has been providing excellent environmental and science education programs to students from eight Maryland counties and D.C for more than 25 years. More than 16,000 schoolchildren visit each year and are given the opportunity to make a physical and emotional connection to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Harvest Hoedown is not only a nice fall tradition, it acts as a yearly open house for the center. Depending on the weather, 1,500 to 3,000 people attend the event, according to Mark.
Planning the Hoedown starts in mid July as it takes time and many hands to put the action-packed day together. The Pickering Creek staff relies on a committee of dedicated volunteers for planning and helping throughout the day, as well as sponsors for the event. This year’s Harvest Hoedown is made possible by community sponsors including Atlantic Tractor, Bartlett, Griffin and Vermilye, Charles Capute, Coca Cola Bottling, Higgins and Spencer, Johnson Lumber Company, Kelly Distributing, Lenco Mechanical Contractors, Meintzer Bros Petroleum, Shannahan Artesian Well Co., and Talbot Bank.
The cost to attend the Harvest Hoedown is $10 per car. For more information, call 410-822-4903 or visit www.pickeringcreek.org.