Farm gears up for second annual Winter Fest

By: Robin Ruehlen | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 12, 2013

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Break out of the winter doldrums for some fun and see how the snow doesn’t stop the work at the Charles L. Bowers School Farm during the second annual Winter Fest Feb. 16.

Friends of the Farm member Geri Dunkle said that from noon to 4 p.m., visitors can sit by the fire, sip hot chocolate and enjoy treats while learning about the “winter side” of living on a farm. They can also take a wagon ride and visit several stations around the property, and view the “Snowman Train” in the main building.  Dunkle said the train layout is courtesy of Jim Bowers — the son of the farm’s namesake.

Friends member Mike Pentis said in an email that he and his son James joined the Friends of the Bowers School farm in 2012, as they had enjoyed many of the activities offered at the farm over the years.

At last year’s Winter Fest, Pentis said, he spotted several large, dirty bags of material lying around the barn, and later discovered that they were the fleeces that had been sheared from the farm’s flocks of sheep.

“(Farm manager) Holly Glomski mentioned that she had a variety of ideas for the wool, but had not found time get the projects going,” said the Bloomfield Hills resident.

“So the Friends did some research, and we found a woolen mill in Frankenmuth that produces everything from yarn and socks to blankets and pillows.  We visited the mill, got some tips on cleaning the wool and the recommended uses based on the type of sheep we have at the farm. Different breeds of sheep produce different quality of wool.”

The Bowers Farm is home to both Columbia and Suffolk breeds of sheep, he added.

Pentis said the Friends spent time during the summer cleaning the bags of wool and hauling loads up to the mill — in the end, processing more than 100 pounds of “not very pleasant” fleeces into pillows and a comforter that will be for sale at Winter Fest and future farm events. 

“We also have some wool being processed into socks, but these will not be available until late summer,” he added.

All proceeds from the sales will go toward purchasing dishwashing liquid and detergent to clean 2013’s wool contributions from the flock, which will then be made into yarn and a variety of other items. 

Anyone who would like to order a blanket or pillow or other wool products can contact the Friends of the Bowers Farm.

“The Winter Fest is going to be a great attraction for all to enjoy, along with many other ideas the Friends are preparing for visitors,” Pentis said.

“It will be a busy four hours, with lots to do and see.”

The Bowers Farm entrance is located on East Square Lake Road, between Adams and Squirrel. Enter at the Bowers Academy gate. The Winter Fest will take place rain or shine from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 16.

For more information, call Geri at (248) 649-6479 or email