Autumn festival has country setting

Published 9:17 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Barn cupolas are a regular part of traveling the country highways of this area, but few farms feature a cupola as a yard ornament. Lisa Olson has two cupolas gracing her farmyard in rural Worth County, Iowa.

The ripening soybean and corn fields form a glorious backdrop for a Fall Festival, held over the next two weekends, Sept. 19-21, and Sept. 26-28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mama’s Country Memories is the crafting business Olson runs from the working farm she shares with her husband, Jerry. The farm is located seven miles east of Northwood on Worth County Highway 105 and one-half mile north, at 4685 Vine Ave.

“We just love this stuff,” Olson said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

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The stuff she referred to will be on display and offered for sale at the festival.

“We will have 24 consignors from Minnesota and Iowa with goods on sale here,” Olson said.

Handmade crafts, antiques and primitives are among the items to be displayed in the outbuildings of the Olson farm. A former machine shed is now the main display area, which will also offer complementary cider and coffee to festival-goers.

“We renovated the old granary. We installed lower ceilings, whitewashed the walls and divided it into theme rooms,” Olson said. “It’s being done boutique style, and all items are pre-priced by the consignors.”

A kitchen room with an antique stove, old fashioned laundry with a wringer washer, a Christmas room, and a family theme room complete the displays at the granary, which also features brooder house light fixtures.

An outdoor feed bunk in the yard contains squash, pumpkins and gourds. Cornstalk bundles and decorative broomcorn ornaments are also for sale, Olson said.

Olson is also a public health worker in Worth county, and owned a craft shop in Northwood for two years. Her husband doubles as a police officer. The Olsons raise black Angus cattle at their farm, and own 14 horses and three dogs. This is the inaugural year for the fall festival as well as Mama’s Country Memories, Olson said.

“We go to sales and auctions to get most of our antiques and primitives,” Olson said. “It is a family business and my daughter and son are working with me today, preparing for the festival.”

Olson’s daughter, Chelsea Feldt, lives on a neighboring farm, and is employed as a caregiver at nursing facilities in St. Ansgar and Manly, Iowa. She recalls the story of how the bicycle in her mother’s yard was acquired.

“We were headed north on Highway 65 when we saw an old bicycle in a farmyard south of Glenville,” Feldt said. “We both remarked that the bike would look so cool in the front yard. When we drove back home the bicycle was still there, so we stopped. The people in the yard said we could have it if we wanted it, so we brought it home.”

Olson has high hopes for the fall festival.

“The weather should be wonderful and we are hoping for good attendance,” Olson said. There will be other autumn craft events in the area, and Olson says she will have information about those events at this weekend’s fall festival.