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Windy Rafters Barn offers taste of western tradition

Windy Rafters Barn opens its doors to the public on Saturday, Aug. 14.

The historic homestead near Orton is one of more than 100 farms participating in Alberta Open Farm Days.

Now in its ninth year, Alberta Open Farm Days has recorded more than 130,000 visits by people interested in learning more about where their food is grown.

“The ninth annual Alberta Open Farm Days is a celebration which connects Alberta’s amazing agriculture producers to all Albertans,” said Tim Carson, CEO of Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies.

“It is an opportunity for people to experience first-hand the diversity and innovations in agriculture, as well as gaining an understanding of the passion and stewardship Alberta’s farmers have to feed the world.”

Alberta Open Farms Days is a collaborative project presented by the government of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta, and participating farms and ranches.

“Open Farm Days is also the perfect excuse to travel throughout Alberta’s rural communities and experience our beautiful province and local culture that is Alberta,” Carson added.

Admission to farms is free, but there may be costs for some activities and many are cash only.

Visitors are asked to schedule their visit to the farms on the Open Farm Days Web site at albertaopenfarmdays.ca.

Windy Rafters

There has been six Orr generations on the farm since it was homesteaded in 1905, currently overseen by Monty Orr and his wife Ronalee Bennett Orr.

A retired school principal, Ronalee Orr is writing her third children’s historical fiction novel about the farm and southern Alberta area under the title Windy Rafters Roughnecks.

The historic Windy Rafters Barn site is used for hands-on educational experiences of life around the years of 1900s, as well as a rustic or western venue for such things as weddings and reunions.

Free tours and activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Each tour and /activity will take 15 to 30 minutes.

There will be historical tours of the 1910 work-horse barn, the 1905 one-room Orton school, the 1905 replica homestead cabin, the weaving shed and a hay wagon tour.

Through demonstrations and activities visitors can experience rope making, blacksmith forging, simulated cow milking, elastic rifle shooting, a farm zoo, stick calf roping, and horseshoe contests.

There is also the possibility of combine harvesting rides.

A concession will operate from about 12 noon to 1 p.m. offering barbecue on a bun, snow cones and popcorn.                                    

Windy Rafters will also host a barn dance at 7 p.m. with instruction in country line dancing.

“Our tours will leave you with a feel for the lifestyle of the early settlers and the challenges that they faced,” the Windy Rafters Barn operators promise.

Windy Rafter Barn is at 93033 Range Road 250, just 19 minutes west of Lethbridge or 10 minutes east of Fort Macleod and four kilometres south of Highway 3 on Range Road 250 to 93033.

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