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Festivalgoers Amble To Wilton Farm To Enjoy Autumn

Gretchen DeMattia, left, and Florine Kruger, are two of the many volunteers at Wilton's Ambler Farm fall festival on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Zachary Northway, 4, of Wilton prepares to launch an apple by a slingshot Sunday at the Ambler Farm fall festival. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Some of the Ambler Farm produce is on sale Sunday during the Wilton Farm's annual fall festival. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Children walk through the maze at the Ambler Farm fall festival. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Singers perform at the Ambler Farm's fall festival on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Painted pumpkins on display at the Ambler Farm fall festival on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Anne Hopkinson, left, and Janelle Higdon, of Haydenville Broomworks, display an old-fashioned broom that they make and sell. They are located in Haydenville, Mass., and were at the Ambler Farm fall festival on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Jared Silbersher demonstrates old apple people technology to an appreciative audience Sunday at the Ambler Farm fall festival. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
It's not a snake, it's an apple peel made by an old-fashioned apple peeler. Jared Silbersher, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., was giving demonstrations of apple peeling and apple slicing using pre-electric technology at Ambler Farm's fall festival Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
It's not a fall festival without a hay ride at Ambler Farm's fall festival Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

WILTON, Conn. -- He may not know it now, but Zachary Northway, 4, was taking part in what is becoming a tradition for his family by joining hundreds of people at the Ambler Farm fall festival Sunday in Wilton.

Zachary tried his hand at the slingshot, where he loaded an apple, pulled the slingshot back and fired at targets down the field. 

His mother, Nicole, said Zachary and his older sister Mackenzie, 7, love what the farm offers.

"The kids did camp here this summer and absolutely loved it," she said. Nicole and husband, Rob, along with the children, moved to Wilton about a year ago.

She praised Ambler Farm for what it offers and for the chance for children to get a better understanding of the environment.

Gretchen DeMattia knows better than most what Ambler Farm has to offer to the community.

"It's a true treasure," said DeMattia, the past president of the Friends of the Ambler Farm, as she volunteered her time Sunday.

She's amazed at the fall festival's popularity.

"It has just grown into this unbelievable event," she said.

Her fellow volunteer, Florine Kruger, said the event attracts people from well beyond Wilton's town borders, noting she has talked with people who have visited the event from as far as Long Island, N.Y.

The town purchased 22 aces in 1999, one year after the death of Betty Ambler - the last of the Raymond-Ambler family to live at the farm.

The Friends of the Ambler Farm was created to celebrate Wilton's rural roots through educational programs, sustainable agriculture and historic preservation.

The farm has its own Director of Agriculture, Jonathan Kirschner. The site has gardens and offers a wide variety of fresh produce and flowers.

The event also drew a vendor that creates traditional brooms using broom corn.

Anne Hopkinson and Janelle Higdon said they couldn't face a lifetime of office jobs and jumped at the opportunity to take over the broom-making business of a man who was about to retire.

They said their traditionally made brooms appeal to people who are looking for something different and also want to support traditional crafts.

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