Anderson County agritourism venue is friendly, educational
By Chris Aldridge
Kentucky Ag News
It’s October, so most of Kentucky’s more than 600 agritourism locations are buzzing with fall activities.
One of them is Buckmeadow Farms in Anderson County, which is currently hosting its sixth annual Fall Fest every weekend through Oct. 30. The family-owned and -operated working cattle farm doubles as an agritourism venue 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (dark) Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays.
“It’s a safe, fun place to take your kids,” said Kelli Buckley, whose husband, Tyler, is the third generation to run the farm’s daily operations since 1974.
A poll on Buckmeadow’s Facebook page rated it 4.9 out of 5 stars based on the opinions of 194 people. Most comments included the word “friendly.”
“We actually care that you’re there,” Kelli said, noting the Fall Fest is staffed by members of two farm families: the Buckleys and their friends, the Spoonamores from Lincoln County. “We like to interact with the people and answer their questions. It’s a way to connect to people that don’t have that knowledge about farming.”
Sharon Spencer, director of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Direct Farm Marketing Division, said Buckmeadow “does an amazing job educating about the farm while kids enjoy the farm.”
This fall, Buckmeadow booked 11 school trips, which it uses to educate young students about where their food comes from.
“A hundred elementary school kids in the same grade plus their parents usually come,” Kelli said of each field trip. “We start by showing them how we milk cows by using a portable milker. We educate them, then we turn them loose and let them have fun.”
Kelli said Buckmeadow’s most popular attraction is the animal barn.
“People love to go pet and feed and love on our animals,” she said, noting the barn houses two pens of goats, small show pigs, a bottle-fed baby calf, and an 8-year-old Brown Swiss cow named Wildcat. “She stays at the fence to welcome people, ready to lick them,” Kelli quipped.
Other attractions include:
- A 5-acre corn maze with a different design every year, along with a smaller kiddie corn maze.
On Saturday, Oct. 22 (rain date Oct. 29), the maze will become “haunted” after dark. “It’s like a haunted house except in a corn maze,” Kelli said. “It’s very popular with teenagers and pre-teens.”
On Friday, Oct. 28, the maze will host trick or treaters with candy handed out at several stations inside. Costume contests will be held.
- Ninja Warrior, loosely based on the “American Ninja Warrior” TV show but featuring farm obstacles, such as: jumping from hay bale to hay bale, swinging on a rope, crawling through a tube, and going on a zip line.
- A straw “mountain” made of hay bales with a double slide for racing. There’s also another higher double slide.
- A cotton pit, which is a large pile of cotton seed enclosed with straw bales. The idea for the attraction originated in Tyler’s childhood. “They used to feed the dairy cows cotton seed,” Kelli explained. “As a kid, he played in the seed. He said, ‘They (kids) will love it!’”
- A corn crib, which allows kids to play in shelled corn.
- Other attractions include tug of war, a pillow jumper, a playground area, and a beef, dairy, and farming education center.
Admission is $10, but free for children ages 2 and younger. A season pass is $25. For special hours and pricing for field trips and groups, call (502) 680-1824.
A u-pick pumpkin and all activities are included with admission. The exceptions are feed in the animal barn and a corn cannon powered by compressed air, where shooters fire an ear of corn at various targets.
Available for purchase are concessions, fall decorations, and frozen packages of Buckmeadow Farms beef.
Buckmeadow Farms is at 1323 Ninevah Road near Lawrenceburg. For more information, visit the farm’s website at www.BuckmeadowFarms.com