J. D. Engle, events manager at Claude Moore Colonial Farm, and Lisa Berray were both dressed in traditional costumes from the 1800s for the silent auction and celebration Saturday night, Oct. 7 at Claude Moore Colonial Farm.
Photo by Colin Stoecker/The Connection
Not a lot of people know about Claude Moore Colonial Farm, formerly known as Turkey Run, which is hidden off of the George Washington Parkway. Even fewer people know what it was like to live in the 1800s in northern Virginia.
“The first time I heard about it, was back in the 1980s. I saw a sign for the farm driving down the highway and I love history,” said President emeritus, James Callan, a member of the board of trustees for Claude Moore Colonial Farm.
“I love the farm” he said.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a living part of Virginia history nestled off of the parkway. Reenactors keep the farm running with real gardens, produce, livestock and other wares that would have been made back in the 1800s.
The farm is mostly self-sustaining, and receives no funding from the National Park Service. The farm holds an event every third weekend of the month, and sustains operating budgets through gift shop and bookstore sales along with private donations.
“Because the farm is the only privately funded national park in the United States, the fundraisers help us to support the farm,” said Peg Jarman, board member in charge of the fundraising event.
Saturday night’s silent auction and benefit dinner featured local beer and wine tastings, food, and of course traditional dress and music from the 1800s.
J. D. Engle, events manager at Claude Moore Colonial Farm and Lisa Berray were both dressed in traditional costumes from the 1800s.
“It’s great to invite folks who are in political office to show them what we do here at the farm, and so that we can get their continued political support,” said Berray. “As a volunteer it’s amazing to see how people in the community get involved and the people who come to these events energize me and what I do.”
Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) was also at the event and employees and benefactors hoped to gain his political support as the farm continues to operate between Federal government land area, and land for the parkway owned by the Federal Highway Administration.
Reenactors, supporters, and families enjoyed a night of relaxed fun where everyone could celebrate what it is like to have a unique place like the farm in this part of Virginia.
“We are delighted to get such a good turnout to keep the farm running” said Phillip Zane, a board member and volunteer at the farm for ten years. “I usually reenact as a member of the exchange office, playing a merchant or a lawyer at our market fairs. I own some of the clothes and my wife stitches,” he said.
By charging admission, the farm is able to stay open and provide the northern Virginia community with living history.
“Quite a few board members are in costume,” said Zane.
Oct. 21 and 22 is the weekend of the Autumn Market Fair, one of the farm’s largest events. There will be dancing, food, re-enactors, and plenty of learning opportunities for the whole family.