James Harward set an ambitious goal when he decided to launch a brand new, multi-day outdoor festival. The idea came to him after helping George Broughton redesign the disc golf course at the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area off Ohio 821 in Marietta. Wanting more people to know about all that the area has to offer, James dreamt of a summer celebration that would showcase the park and highlight some of the new ideas planned for future additions.
“The purpose of the Broughton’s Farm Fest, sponsored by People’s Bank and People’s Insurance, was to raise funds for the Broughton Foundation and the Devola Multi-Use Trail,” said James, Festival Director and Organizer. “We are on a mission to provide the public with a space for outdoor activities where they can enjoy nature and stay in shape.”Held earlier this month, the first ever Broughton’s Farm Fest included everything from a 5k face, a disc golf tournament, live music featuring local musicians, farm animals, a beer garden hosted by the Marietta Brewing Company, regional food trucks, and local artists, to a country store, yoga, and much more. Events kicked off Friday evening a round of Glow-in-the-Dark Disc Golf and ended on Sunday with the Disc Golf Awards Ceremony; for most of the family-centered events, however, Saturday was the day to be there.
“My boys loved being able to pet and feed the animals, and were really excited to pick up their free bicycle helmets,” said Cristie Thomas, who attended Farm Fest with her family. The Marietta Adventure Company and the Washington County Health Department teamed up to provide free kids helmets and safety checks on kids bikes on Saturday afternoon to promote bike safety, just one of the many mini events that took place throughout the weekend. After a full day, festival goers gathered around the stage for performances by Michael Beardmore and Back Porch Alibi as the sun set Saturday evening.
“As the Broughton’s Farm Fest Director, I was very pleased with the results. I started planning this event over a year ago,” James said. “During the course of the planning process I met many new people in our community. I was very pleased with the support we received even though it was our first year.”
A Devola resident, James moved to the area from the state of Washington three years ago. A lover of outdoor recreation, he was drawn to the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area for the variety of resources it offers. “The property has two championship level disc golf courses, mile and miles of walking/hiking trails, two ponds for fishing, a creek and a waterfall to enjoy, a switchback mountain bike trail, the paved Devola Multi-Use Trail and over 600 acres of nature preserve.”
Development at the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area is ongoing. James said future plans include a community center with a meeting area, kitchen, restroom and shower facilities. Plans are also underway to connect the Devola Multi-Use Trail to the Marietta Bike Trail and continue it on to the Devola Pool. Funds from the Festival will go towards projects such as these, as well as the completion and maintenance of the Big Buckeye and The Sasquatch disc golf courses.
Will the festival return again next year? You bet. James and his team have already begun plant to make it even bigger and better. “The layout will change to accommodate more vendors as well as allow for more stage visibility. We are planning a water park area where everyone can cool down from the heat since we are planning it for July 12th-14th next year,” he said. “There will be circus tents provided for the vendors to allow for a cooler experience while shopping. Back Porch Alibi will be back on stage for the Saturday evening concert along with another local band to be announced later. Bigger and better is the overall plan!”