Local families flock to the farm for the Spring Festival (12 photos)


The popular Chappell Farms Spring Festival draws a crowd; “After two such long and very difficult years… it’s really nice to get out and breathe the fresh air”

As one big bunny piloted a tractor around the Chappell Farms field, two others in an attached trailer sent handful after handful of candy flying through the air.

Then came the clear call and children of all ages, many with their parents, stoked the area, filling their Easter baskets with treats.

Two-year-old Lincoln Mayes picked a spot and sat quietly, picking up the pieces of candy scattered around him.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” her dad, Jessie Mayes, said of the Barrie family’s outing to the Chappell Farms Spring Festival. “It has been difficult (over the past two years) with COVID. They don’t really understand.

Lincoln’s big sisters Kassidy, six, and Niyah, soon to be eight, were very excited to dig into their sweet treasures.

“I’m going to eat it,” Niyah said, beaming.

The Oro-Medonte Township Family Farm Spring Festival kicked off last weekend and continues Easter weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Monday.

There’s the candy hunt, the Amazing Frank Clarkson magic show – which is the only indoor event – plus wagon rides, playgrounds and a host of creatures including lambs and their moms, babies goats and baby chickens.

“All of our animals have babies at this time of year, so children can see the life cycle of animals,” Pauline Chappell explained. “We have llamas but so far they haven’t given us babies.”

On Sunday, the GO-VAXX bus will be at Chappell Farms from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Last weekend didn’t have the perfect weather conditions, but Chappell said there was a decent turnout and people were glad to be out.

For Chappell, being able to hold the full event was a thrill and a sign of more to come. Last year, after all the arrangements were made, they were forced to close after just one day, and that was completely canceled the year before when the pandemic started.

Saturday may not have been the hottest day of the week, but it started out clear and sunny and was a time for young families to get out and about – many of whom queued for enter when the doors have opened.

For Diana DaSilva, bringing her family, including her sons, Kauan, eight, Khelan, four, and their cousin, Jasmine, six, visiting from Ottawa, to the farm was a chance to further explore the region. DaSilva moved from Toronto to Barrie last year and loves the location and the experiences.

“After two such long and very difficult years, I would say to everyone, it’s really nice to get out and breathe some fresh air,” she said.

“It’s Easter weekend. A lot of things are closed, but we really appreciate it when there are farms and things like that open to kids, especially getting out and being outside when we’ve been locked up for so long.

Adam and Becky Payne traveled from Orillia to explore the animals and other farm offerings with their two-year-old daughter, Adelyn.

Like so many young families there, the Paynes were willing to help their daughter enjoy the different sounds and sights while largely staying outdoors.

“It’s so nice,” Becky said. “It has been two difficult years.

“We love outdoor activities because at least we can keep our distance.”

Sixteen-month-old Alice happily fed the lambs, who gobbled down the food, the ice cream cone and all.

Her parents, Jim Field and Melanie Stocchero, decided it was time to show Alice a bit more of the world outside of their Wasaga Beach home.

“We have to get out of the house,” her parents said simultaneously.

“It’s open and we could come and it’s a good experience for her to see the animals and the people and get that exposure,” her dad said. “She’s kind of a COVID baby, so she kind of got trapped in the house like all of us.

“Now it’s just going out in public where there are a lot of people.”


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