Annual Pettengill Farm Day showcases Freeport history, music, family fun

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FREEPORT — The 34th annual Pettengill Farm Day will take place Sunday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Freeport Historical Society Executive Director Christina White said the theme will again be “Everything Barnyard,” but will include more music, activities and historical displays.

“What sets Pettengill Farm apart from other farm day events is how much we lean into history,” she said. “We have the additional fortune of a historical agricultural site, and can learn about the past from what we find on the land.”

The 19th century, 140-acre saltwater farm was a working farm for the Pettengill family, which lived there for about 100 years. White said Charles Pettengill first bought part of it in 1858, then more, including the house, in 1877. She said he may have bought it for Wallace, his oldest son.

Wallace and his wife Adelaide raised their three children there – Ethel, Frank, and Mildred. Millred lived in the house until 1970, and in 1975, the house and property was donate to the Freeport Historical Society. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

New this year will be a Recollections Tent, where oral historian Mary Ellen Barnes will lead discussions of local historical events. White said past or present Freeport residents are encouraged to stop by the tent and share their stories.

There will be an expanded master trades booth this year, featuring tradeswoman Hope Angier of Camden. White said Angier is a theorem painter who creates scenes on stair risers, fireboards and walls.

“Hope is renowned for this type of work,” she said. “This is not an arts and crafts tent, it is a demonstration of the work of the times.”

David Burtt, Chris Tanguay and Mike Ellis, who work in iron forging, dry stone wall building and slate carving, will also showcase their trades.

New events also include a fruit pie contest and a demonstration of water-dousing by Michael Abbott.  Abbott, a farmer and hydro-geologist, will use a stick to locate groundwater.

In addition, artist Donna Coffin will display her watercolor paintings of the farmhouse in a collection entitled “Views From the Saltbox.”

White said activities for children will include a four-way tug-of-war, old fashioned apple-hucking, cider-making, and a treasure hunt using geo-caching. Kathy Koerber, storyteller and child educator, will read stories in the family reading tent, and children can take wagon rides and visit with barnyard animals. Resident Robert Olsen will once again portray the 19th-century magician Richard Potter in performances at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

“This year there will be more musical performances than we have ever had,” White said. 

From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. the Maine Highland Fiddlers will perform, and at 12:30 p.m. The Maine Squeeze will take the stage. At 1:30 p.m. Freeport’s Pound of Tea will entertain the crowd and at 2:30 p.m., nostalgia act Over the Cardboard Sea will perform novelty tunes from 1890 through 1939.

There will be a guessing table for people to try to identify items found during an archaeological dig this August, and a historical display of antique farm equipment.

Lunch and snacks will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include popcorn, hamburgers, hot dogs, cider, pies and cookies. 

In addition to the events of Pettengill Farm Day, there will be nature walks led by naturalist and resident Dan Nickerson on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 9 a.m.; Sunday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m. and Sunday Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. The nature walks will start at the Pettengill Farm gate and will take between one and two hours. Participants are advised to wear sensible shoes, and bring water and bug repellent.

Pettengill Farm Day is sponsored by the Freeport Historical Society and the suggested donation is $5 for adults and $2 for children.

“I look forward to the event this year, and hope it stands out among other farm days,” White said. “The combination of history and sustainable agriculture will provides us with educational and fun activities for all who visit.” 

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or

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n-fptPettengillfarm-092409.JPGAdults and children use the cider press at Pettengill Farm Day last year to make fresh apple cider. This year, the event will take place Sunday, Oct. 4, and will feature tours of the farmhouse, fresh cider making, storytelling and live music.