The success of Summers Farm dates back to 1934 when John Arthur Summers and his wife Ruth Schaffer purchased the land. Initially, the dairy farm consisted exclusively of Guernsey cows. There were many hardships during the Depression but John Arthur and Ruth made ends meet — they worked the farm by day; he worked at Garber Baking Company by night.
Eventually, their three sons pitched in as farming was very labor intensive in those days: milking cows by hand and using horses to plant and harvest crops.
John Arthur’s son, Clarke Summers, carried on the family tradition for many years. Along with wife Linda, they raised three daughters on the family dairy farm. His daughters worked very closely with Clarke in the everyday chores of milking and farming 500 acres. While the family worked hard on the farm, they also found ways to make the chores fun.
All three daughters have fond memories of their childhood and the enjoyment they had growing up on the farm. Whether it was playing with the animals, jumping in the straw or just running around in the fields, they always found a way to make their days fun. The oldest daughter, Teresa Summers had a vision of opening the farm up to all families so they can experience “life on the farm” and learn about the importance of agriculture in our world.
She started the festival in 1996 with exactly this plan. Today, kids of all ages can experience jumping on the straw, going down hills, and getting lost in the corn just like the Summers family always did. In addition, the farm partners with area schools to provide agricultural education to today’s youth. Each year, more than 10,000 students visit the farm to learn the value of agriculture and the difference farmers make in our community.
Today, 22 years later, Summers Farm has become a long-standing fall tradition for families, organizations, schools, and corporations. The widely popular Fall Festival attracts thousands looking for wholesome fun for the entire family. Make Summers Farm a part of your fall family tradition this season — a farm-centered experience where memories are made!