Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It’s been a few days since I have blogged…I’m sorry!  I have been sick and away from home (at an awesome event with Bob Evans) and I have just now been able to get settled enough to blog again!
I had the opportunity to visit Rio Grande, Ohio this past weekend and attend the Bob Evans Farm Festival which was a great experience!  First and foremost I must say thank you to Bob Evans and Blake Matthews (Brunner PR) for the opportunity to visit Bob Evans 40th Anniversary Farm Festival…I had a blast and cannot wait to go back next year!

For those of you unfamiliar with Bob Evans Farm Festival let me give you a history lesson (now quite down class and pay attention).  Bob and Jewell Evans called their farm in Rio Grande, Ohio home for 20 years, it is the place they chose to raise their children and the place where the magic that is Bob Evans began.  Bob and Jewell began their business simply enough, making their homemade sausage and inviting guests to stop by for a visit and try their food.  Quickly the crowds grew until the numbers became too large for the Evans’ to accommodate guests in their home, this gave way to the very first restaurant The Sausage Shop…and so began the Bob Evans legacy!

     (Sorghum Mill)

In 1971 Bob Evans began hosting family, friends, and neighbors to his farm in Rio, Grande, Ohio for a weekend of fun, food, and friends.  The Bob Evans Farm Festival has been held every year since 1971 and now draws more than 30,000 visitors over three days. In addition to great food, the Bob Evans Farm Festival offers a wide variety of entertainment and activities for all members of the family.  From cloggers and crafters to Kids’ Farmyard Fun and lumberjack demonstrations, the Bob Evans Farm Festival truly has something for everyone! 
Original 1971 Farm Festival schedule

Being from Ohio I’m used to festivals, heck it seems like there's a festival for everything around here…Tobacco Festival, Rosemary Clooney Festival, Stern Wheel Regatta (a festival with a fancy name), and on and on.  I really thought I knew what to expect when I was invited to the Bob Evans Farm Festival, but quickly found out that I had no idea what a real festival was all about!

Upon my arrival at the festival the first thing I noticed was the Bob Evans restaurant welcoming visitors as they arrived, the restaurant (Bob Evans first restaurant) is still serving customers and was as popular and busy this past Saturday as I can imagine it was when it first opened its doors.  The sheer volume of people browsing craft booths and taking in their surroundings was actually quite amazing to me…there were so many people, mostly families out to enjoy the festivities!

(The wagon rides were especially popular) 

(Border Collie demonstrations were another crowd pleaser…my kids loved this!)

The Homestead museum (housed in Bob and Jewell Evans home on the property for more than 20 years) offers visitors a glimpse into the rich (and tasty) history that is Bob Evans.  Visitors can receive a walk through tour of the history of the company, the family, and of a region!  You’ll also find award-winning quilters inside the Homestead museum, the quilts (true masterpieces from nine past winners of the Bob Evans Farm’s Homestead Invitational Quilt Exhibit) represent techniques such as hand-piecing, machine piecing, appliqué, and embroidery and are absolutely works of art.

I felt so at home at the Farm Festival, and I think a big part of that had to do with all of the families in attendance, the festival was surely family friendly and a place that I want to take my whole family to visit again next year.  It seemed that everywhere I looked I saw kids playing, parents laughing, there was a certain nostalgic feel to the farm that made it seem almost magical…like you could be a kid for a day right along side your own kids without anyone batting an eye.  My senses were alive and on high alert trying to take in all of the smells, sounds, and sights, but trying to contain my excitement was useless as the farms magic seemed to envelope me as well…which caused me to climb on the Straw Castle with my kiddos!

One of my very favorite experiences at the Farm Festival was the food, I mean you really cannot attend a festival named for Bob Evans and not expect to eat…right?  While I had a very difficult time trying to decide what to eat, the amount of amazing foods, many offered by local farmers, was endless.  Finally after much debate I decided to munch on some kettle corn (absolutely superb) while I took in a clogging performance (also superb).  I also had a chance to chow down on Bob Evans sausage (biscuits and gravy anyone?) and it was absolutely our favorite of the many food choices we sampled.

Bob Evans Farm Festival (All of the kids seemed to enjoy the straw castle…Lil Man loved it!)

(Lil Diva was obsessed with the cows and wanted to touch this calf oh-so-badly!) 

My family had an amazing time at the festival and it was clear that everyone else in attendance was having a very similar experience to my own.  I loved the family atmosphere and the variety of activities and entertainment, it really was an experience that our entire family could enjoy together.  From me soaking in the rich history and amazing setting, to my husband marveling at the lumberjack’s and their amazing skills, to my kids being amazing by the horses and border collies we each took away something special and magical that we will always remember from our time there!

And though the Bob Evans Farm Festival is a once a year occurrence you can still visit Bob Evans Farm year round and enjoy activities including touring the Homestead, the original farm house of Bob and Jewell Evans now a museum—you can also take a virtual tour of the Homestead on Bob Evans website, horseback riding, visit Adamsville Village, which dates back to the 1800s. Situated along Raccoon  Creek, the authentic log cabins were originally used as homes and a school, and so much more.  Details and event schedules are available online at the Bob Evans website as well.

I wasn’t at all surprised when my oldest daughter asked if we could come back next year, and of course I replied “I hope so it’s been a blast! “.   I really do think the motto Bob Evans lived by:  “Treat strangers like friends and friends like family.” was alive and well at the Bob Evans Farm Festival and in those simple words lies the magic!

The original Bob Evans restaurant


  1. Looks like a fantastic time! I haven't been to the Bob Evans Restaurant in forever but you know, I still remember their pancakes - they were pretty dang good.

  2. Sounds like a blast!! I'd love to go to that. I haven't been to Bob Evans in a long time. I love their breakfasts.

  3. That looks like a great time. We don't even have a restaraunt close to us, let alone the entire farm!

  4. That looks like a great day out. Luv all that farm stuffs I be the kids had a great time

  5. What a great event! We used to go to the Ohio fairs (my parents are from Ohio). Nothing matches the events up there!

  6. First of all, I am totally laughing at the Rosemary Clooney Festival. That's awesome.

    Second, that looks like so much fun; my kids would LOVE this. Wish I were closer!

  7. I have been to this! I used to live in Rio Grande when I was young. My dad lived in Gallipolis for almost my entire life!

  8. Wonderful review! Glad to hear you had a great time. My family was there too to review - it would have been neat to meet!


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