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Go Outside the Bubble: An Annual Homestead Fair Instead of the Black Friday Consumer Madness

I recently read an article from Matt Walsh about Thanksgiving and what we, as American consumers, have done to this beautiful holiday. I could embellish my feelings a bit more, but Matt seemed to have covered it all. Read it please and then make a pledge to protect Thanksgiving.

So instead of ranting about retailers’ disrespect of family time around the holidays, I’m going to talk about what I do instead and something you can do to get out of the DFW area. 

What is it?

Once a year in a little town called Elm Mott, Texas (just north of Waco), an Agrarian community hosts a fair at their farmstead for a few thousand visitors. And for the past two decades, that is where I find my yearly reset button.

Why go?

Over the last 20 years I’ve been going to the Craft Fair, a lot has changed to accommodate the growing number of people attending the event. But even nowadays, the crowd doesn’t seem to take away from the aura of a “simpler life.” The entire visit gives me a segue and a much needed perspective into the real meaning of the season’s holidays. Maybe it’s all the farm smells, or the music, or maybe it’s the simple wholesomeness of the event, but I always seem to have a sigh of peace that I can’t find on the shelves of Wal-Mart.

What’s there?

At Homestead Heritage Craft Fair, you will find craft seminars and a pavilion full of goods to buy (like homemade jalapeno jelly and hand sewn dolls). There will also be homesteading demonstrations including garden, herding, bee-keeping, a petting area, handmade breads and cheeses, and all kinds of homemaking and traditional crafts. Personally, my favorite was always the quilting and fibers. There is a whole website dedicated to the kinds of crafts and activities that happen at the fair.

This agrarian and home-schooled lifestyle is beautiful and a very far step from the I’m-gonna-trample-my-neighbor-for-the-newest-Furby lifestyle. You can get some hand-made shopping done, eat some food, pet some animals watch people who have some serious crafting skills. You can hear music from an instrument that the musician made with his own hands. You can smell candles and soaps that smell like actual handpicked local herbs. You can taste handmade apple cider and jams. You can relax and mentally prepare for the holidays. I don’t know what the people of the Brazos de Dios Homestead put in the marinated feta cheese, but I keep going back every year and I’m super excited to share it with my kids this year. 

What kind of food is there?

The food at this fair will not be fried Oreos, or chicken fried bacon, or fried moon pies. All the food and drinks inside this fair are wholesome and homemade and much better than fried butter. No worries, the food still tastes great. Gyros, corn dogs, kettle popcorn, apple cider donuts, pizza, fries, pretzels, burgers, gorditas (oh my gosh, the gorditas), and all the homemade cheeses are just a few things that the menu offers. 

How much?

Admission is free, but parking is $10. And you will be parking in a field… This place does not have a bunch of concrete slabs. This farm is for real — not like the farms we all flock to when searching for the annual pumpkin.

Find the Homestead:

608 Dry Creek Rd‎ Waco, TX 76705

It opens at 9am on Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday. Go early and beat the crowd.

Go. Do. Be thankful.

I bet Best Buy won’t have a barn raising this holiday season. I bet Old Navy won’t be selling pottery that was wheel-thrown by a 15-year-old skilled craftswoman. I would bet my iPhone 9 that McDonald’s won’t be selling fresh pancakes made with grain from an actual on sight gristmill. I couldn’t even fathom Toys-R-Us selling toy sailboats or jump ropes that you make yourself. Yep, that is probably not going to happen amongst the lines to buy the giant Made in China TV for 30% off.

So, be genuinely thankful this holiday. Please don’t shop on Thanksgiving. Instead stay home and be with your family, meditate on why we celebrate the holiday. Then, get up early Friday and leave the concrete jungles of Dallas and Fort Worth for a small town a little north of Waco. I bet the trip as a whole will blow the mind of a 7 year old.

Friday, November 22, 2013