Heritage Celebration set to return Sept. 24

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published September 21, 2021

 Farmington Hills Nature Center Supervisor/naturalist Ashlie Smith said the Heritage Celebration is viewed as the “kickoff to our hayride season here at Heritage Park.” The celebration is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Farmington Hills Nature Center Supervisor/naturalist Ashlie Smith said the Heritage Celebration is viewed as the “kickoff to our hayride season here at Heritage Park.” The celebration is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Children and adults have been extended an opportunity to celebrate history and have some fun Sept. 24 at the Heritage Celebration in Heritage Park.

The celebration is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m., with children and adults of all ages welcome to attend.

The entertainment includes playing old-time farm games, dressing up in clothes from the past, touring the barn, making crafts, and watching demonstrations of life in the past.

Hayrides will be available at a cost of $8 per person, with children under 2 permitted to ride for free.

The fee to register for the program without a hayride is $5 per person.

Those who attend can also enjoy making s’mores from kits by a campfire for $1.

Residents can register in person at the Hawk Community Center in Farmington Hills or online at recreg.fhgov.com.

“It’s our annual celebration,” said Farmington Hills Nature Center Supervisor Ashlie Smith. “We view it as the kickoff to our hayride season here at Heritage Park. We do hayrides all throughout September, October and beginning of November, where folks can go take a ride through the trails and into the forest, and it’s beautiful and unique.”

Aside from fun activities, the heritage and history of Heritage Park is also celebrated.

“Usually, the historical society will have one or two of their volunteers here sharing some information about the history of not only Heritage Park, but our community,” Smith said. “The library has come in the past, and they’ve brought some really great resources — books, pictures and things for the library to share with folks. And then Tollgate Farm, which is right down the road, they usually come out, bring some farming animals and shed some light on the history of Heritage Park — being a working farm, and how that all relates to celebrating the heritage of our park.”

Carol Fink also works at the Heritage Park Nature Center. She said residents “love” the Heritage Celebration.

“We usually have a wonderful turnout because it’s geared for families (and) kids of all ages,” Fink said. “It’s a very interactive festival. … Plus, we have such a wonderful history to tell with Farmington and Farmington Hills.”

According to Smith, the old-time farm games are usually stationed at the Red Barn, which she said is “really beloved by folks.”

The barn itself can be a big part of the appeal for attending the celebration.

“It’s a beautiful historic barn here at Heritage Park, and a lot of people (want to) see what it looks like inside,” Smith said. “It’s usually not open to the public, but during the Heritage Celebration we open that up and allow folks to go in, check it out, and see some of the farming artifacts and old equipment that’s in there that used to be here when it was a working farm.”

Smith said Heritage Park is a “jewel in the community.”

“It’s 211 acres of natural area and 4 miles of trails,” she said. “To have that resource here in a more suburban community is really special. So, we (want to) celebrate that, share some of the heritage of the cool stories that go along with the park and get folks out enjoying nature as well.”

Smith also addressed what may be a modern-day concern for many.

“When it comes to COVID-cautious procedures and stuff, the great thing about Heritage is you can spread out. You never feel like everyone’s on top of each other,” she said. “The events on the 24th are (going to) be spread out between the lawn area, inside the Red Barn, and then over here at the Nature Center. So, we’re hoping for a nice crowd, but also feeling like people have plenty of room to feel safe and spread out from each other.”

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