Autumn in Detroit would not be complete without a hayride through the trails and woods at People for Palmer Park's annual Harvest Festival. The free public event will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 1-4 pm. Originally set for an earlier October date, this event was re-scheduled due to inclement weather — this new date means the autumn colors in Detroit's Palmer Park will be much more vibrant and Halloween attire is welcome!

More than a century ago, Senator Thomas Palmer and his wife Lizzie Merrill Palmer would often invite guests to enjoy their Log Cabin Farm, drink freshly pressed apple cider, and enjoy the harvest. Palmer donated the land in the late 1800s to the city of Detroit to serve as a park "for the good of all."

In honor of the harvest and in celebration of the Palmer legacy, the area across from the Splash Park on Merrill Plaisance, adjacent to People for Palmer Park's community garden, will be filled with autumn festivities and free family fun.

Farmer John and his Barnyard Express show and petting zoo will return. Some of the season's bounty will be shared: apple tasting (with five different varieties of heirloom apples); free apple cider and donut holes for the first 500; corn grilling and pumpkin picking. Make a nature crown and decorate mini-pumpkin in PFPP's big blue art arts & crafts tent, and view a special squash display of a wide variety of pumpkins and squash that grow in Michigan. Then try your luck at tug-of-war, sack races and other old-fashioned games.

This will be a fun opportunity for all ages to learn about how our food is grown, the lives of farm animals, and nature in the park. Delicious, healthy food will be available from two new additions to the local food scene, the Nosh Pit Detroit food truck and organic baked treats from the Mason Jar. Bring-your-own picnics are also encouraged.

During Harvest Fest, learn about the very exciting Lake Frances Revival Project. People for Palmer Park, in partnership with the landscape architecture firm Conservation Design Forum, has been working on a plan to revitalize Lake Frances. The benefits of blue/green infrastructure and revitalization strategies for Palmer Park's Lake Frances will be discussed. This initiative is funded by The Kresge Foundation.

The event takes place next to Palmer Park's Splash Park and new playground, on Merrill Plaisance near Pontchartrain, between McNichols and Seven Mile Roads, west of Woodward Avenue. Parking is available at the Splash Park parking lot.

What: Harvest Festival with Petting Zoo, Farmer John Animal Shows and Hayride through the woods
When: Saturday, October 22, 2016, from 1 - 4 pm
Where: Palmer Park, by the Splash Park parking lot, Merrill Plaisance, west of Woodward between 6 & 7 Mile Roads, Detroit
Why: To celebrate and appreciate Palmer Park and harvest
Who: People of all ages, especially children! 
How much: Free

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