Harvest Festival coming up at Harrison’s Burtner House
Homemade soups, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator and alpacas are among the features of the annual Harvest Festival coming up at the Burtner House in Harrison.
The one-day festival will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at the nearly 200-year-old stone house just off Exit 15 of Route 28.
Admission will be $5 for adults, $3 for ages 12 to 17 and free for children under 12.
The Harvest Festival and the annual strawberry festival held in June are the major fundraisers that support the operation and maintenance of the house, said Jeff Jones, president of the Burtner House Restoration Society.
Work to replace the cedar shake roof on the house was finished earlier this year, which Jones said cost about $30,000. That, along with the front porch roof, completes the roof work for all of the structures on the property.
Work on the inside of the house, including painting, is being planned for next year.
Between 350 and 500 people typically attend the Harvest Festival.
“We appreciate them coming to support the house,” Jones said. “It’s a nice afternoon.”
New this year is the availability of a handicapped-accessible parking area with room for three vehicles, Jones said. The grounds of the house, up a hill from the parking area, and the first floor of the house are accessible.
The house, which is not regularly open to the public, will be open for tours during the festival.
The summer kitchen will be open for lunch, featuring sandwiches and homemade soups. Local honey will be available to buy.
About eight to 10 crafters featuring homemade and handmade products will attend, and tickets will be sold for a quilt raffle. There will be Civil War reenactors and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. Local author Bill Davis will attend.
Children will get a free pumpkin to paint and will be able to visit a teepee, Jones said.
Stone’s Throw Farm in Butler County will have alpaca products for sale and is bringing alpacas for children to pet and feed.
Food, wine festival planned for 2020
Besides the two festivals and scheduled tours, the Burtner House has been open for tours just three other times a year.
Attendance at those three open houses in July, August and September has been poor, Jones said.
For 2020, Jones said the association is considering doing away with the open houses and replacing them with a food and wine festival that would be held in August, midway between the strawberry and harvest festivals.
“I’m looking for different ways to get more people to the house,” he said.
The association has picked up more volunteers after concerns about their dwindling number were made public earlier this year.
“We’re getting more things done,” Jones said.
Harrison responded to the call for help by having its crews cut the grass on the property, which the township owns and leases to the association.
“They did a good job keeping up with that and keeping the property looking nice,” Jones said.
Jones said he’d like to see more people attend the association’s meetings, held at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Harrison Township Municipal Building.
“Even if you can’t make every one of them, if you can, come to one or two a year or three and see what’s going on and give us your input and ideas,” he said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .