Original Urban County Fair

September 14, 2009 Visit the original urban hoedown at the 9th Annual County Fair on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago

Garfield Park Conservatory's County Fair www.garfield-conservatory.org is an annual event celebrating both the annual harvest and healthy communities in an urban setting on Chicago's West Side. The event will illustrate traditional harvest practices and new possibilities in urban agriculture.

You can experience agricultural traditions, the best in urban gardening, and horticultural exhibits and demonstrations. The connection between plants, food and American heritage are highlighted through a variety of activities, demonstrations and entertainment planned for the day. As a family-focused event, the day is filled with the following down-home fun activities:

- Hands-on kids' activities that include corn husk crafts

- Friendly Farms Ltd. petting zoo and pony rides

- Compost demonstrations by UIC Extension Master Composters

- Food preservation demonstrations by UIC Extension Master Food Preservers

- Vote on next year's One Seed Chicago

- Show off your garden pride with photos, stories, and live specimens by participating in our Harvest Showcase. Call 1-773-638-1766 ext 16 or email mharding@garfieldpark.org for more information. (We are highlighting this year's One Seed Chicago Bean Seed in this showcase, so bring us your bean stories.)

- Live music with at our Traditional American Music Stage

- Beekeeping demonstrations and information

- Honey sales

- Food vendors

- Garden Tool Sharpening (Be sure to bring your gardening tools for sharpening)

- Recipe swap (Be sure to bring your favorite recipe for a special recipe swap)

- Farmer's market with fresh produce from local farms

Admission to the 9th Annual Garfield Park Conservatory's County Fair is free. Some activities have a nominal fee. For more information go to www.garfield-conservatory.org.


Garfield Park Conservatory is located just fifteen minutes west of downtown. From I-290, exit Independence Avenue (3800 west) and travel north. Turn east onto Washington Blvd. Turn north onto Central Park Avenue (3600 west). As we will be hosting a majority of this event on our grounds and in our parking lot this year, please plan on parking on the street or in the Garfield Park's Gold Dome Parking lot. (100 N Central Parking Lot.)

Alternatively, take the CTA Green line and exit at Conservatory/Central Park Drive.



Corn Husk Dolls

Materials needed:

Corn Husks

Material scraps (various colors and patterns)


Yarn, pipe cleaners, string (optional)

Set up:

Separate and soak corn husks for 2-3 hours to soften (overnight is even better)

To Make dolls:

1. Start with 4 corn husks

2. Tear one of the husks into tiny, long strips

3. Lay 2 whole husks flat against each other. Using a couple of your husk strips, tie off one end of the 2 husks approximately 1-2 inches from the top

4. Flip the husks inside-out to form a head. Now, using a few more of the husk strips, tie off just below the head to define the doll's neck.

5. Separate the husk flaps below the neck to form legs

6. Take the last full husk, bunch it together, and slip it between the leg separation. Push this up to the neck – this will form the doll's arms.

7. Using more husk strips, tie off the body just under the arms.

8. To define hands, tie off around the wrist area of each arm. Trim if necessary.

9. To define feet, tie off around the ankle area of each leg. Trim if necessary. You have the option of leaving the legs un-tied to form a "skirt".


You have now completed the basic doll. Using scissors, material scraps and husk strips, let your creativity flow to adorn and dress your doll to your liking. Husk strips can be further shredded and attached as hair.

You can also braid the dolls arms and/or legs for a more "finished" look.

Apple Cider Mulling Bags

Materials needed:

For spice bags:

1 T. cloves
1 T. allspice
4 two-inch cinnamon sticks
2 T. orange peel

Muslin bags

Direction cards for cooking at home

Pot with cover and Hot plate (plug-in burner) -or-hot water pot

Measuring spoons


Set up:

Fill pot with apple cider and add in prepared spice bag (directions above). Let heat-up and steep for approximately 30 minutes.

Fun Facts:

Cinnamon tree-The cinnamon tree is located in the Sugar from the Sun exhibit at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The cinnamon we know and use comes from the inner bark, not the outside bark you see. Cinnamon trees are coppiced so smaller shoots grow and the smaller shoots are harvested for our cinnamon we buy in the store.

Allspice tree-we have that too in the sugar from the sun room!

Orange tree- we have that too in the sugar from the sun room!

What is apple cider? Spiced apple cider? The apple juice most of us drink is a highly filtered and processed juice. Apple juice is produced by the crushing of apples, and then filtered extraction of the clear juice. It is usually then pasteurized. Apple cider is less processed and more natural. Cider is an unfiltered, non-alcoholic beverage produced from apples. It is characteristically tart, both cloudier and tangier than conventional filtered apple juice.

Seed Tambourines

Materials needed:

Disposable pie tins
Hole punch
Yarn or thin ribbon (color/style of your choosing)
Dried Seeds (beans, split peas, popcorn, sunflower seeds (unhusked), etc.)
Dull-ended pencils or sticks

To Make Tambourines:

10. Put the 2 tins together open side-to open side, so and punch hole around the flat "rim" at the edge of 2 pie tins. Holes should be approximately 1-2 inches apart. Note: if working with small children, an adult may want to pre-punch the tins.

11. Lay one tin – open-end up – on the table and add approximately 2-3 table spoons of seeds.

12. Lay the second tin – open side down – on top and align the holes.

13. Keeping the tins aligned and flat on the table, weave the yarn or ribbon through the holes to lose up the tambourine. This is just like lacing shoes?

14. Tie-off securely and check for leaks – you don't want seeds flying out during a performance!


- Feed more lengths of ribbon or yarn through the holes for decoration.

- Use dull pencils or sticks to "engrave" designs on the surface of the tins. Don't use sharp objects or push too hard for fear of punching holes.

Shake, Rattle….and Roll!

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