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    Fall Color Tour kicks off this weekend

    photoJuju Barns, 5, of Loudoun County exits from one of the slides at Ticonderoga Farm Park Oct. 16, 2011. Ticonderoga Farm Park was one of many farms featured on the Loudoun County Office of Rural Economic Development’s Farm Color Tour held over that weekend throughout Western Loudoun. The two-day, self-guided tour encouraged enjoyment of privately-owned Loudoun County farms. 

    Loudoun County Farms, wineries and special venues will be hosting and educating members of the community and their families for the 2012 Loudoun County Fall Color Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20-21.

    The Fall Color Tour is held annually and is a free self-guided tour showcasing local, active farms in the county. The event is also used as a teaching mechanism to inform consumers of what products are grown and available locally.

    For the farm tour this year, there is a total of 50 venues participating. Twenty-nine are farms, 15 are wineries or distilleries and five are classified as other venues. Those in the other venues category were grouped there because they are either closing early or are charging an entrance fee.

    Families can visit several farms and pick their apples and pumpkins, visit with animals in their natural habitats and enjoy the Loudoun countryside.

    One of the new farms to join this year’s Fall Color Tour is Brossman’s Farm on Route 15 between Leesburg and Lucketts.

    “Brossman’s is going to be showing off their pumpkin patch and providing tours of their farm. I believe they planted approximately 8,000 strawberry plants, so they will be showing off those as well,” said Coco Lyons, rural marketing program manager with the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. “For them, their program is a lot of education, so they will be able to give a lot of walking tours and talk about what they are doing new on the farm.

    “That is what we try to promote with the farm tours. Each location should provide some educational component, whether that’s talking about new practices or their expansion,” Lyons said.

    According to Lyons, Wegmeyer Farms will have their own attraction for families attending the tour.

    “Wegmeyer Farms recently grew some pink pumpkins, so that might be really cool for people to go out there and see,” Lyons said.

      Another new venue for this year’s event is Oatlands Plantation, which is partnering with Ayrshire Farms.

    “Ayrshire is bringing in some of their animals and putting on a fall festival all weekend,” Lyons said.

    Their festival will be held on the Oatlands grounds and an additional charge will be included.

    Some of the farms will be allowing their animals to interact with guests like at Donkey Meadows, where both children and adults can ride their mammoth donkeys for $5.

    Wineries will be featuring live music and tours throughout the weekend.

    “A couple of the wineries have said they will be showcasing or releasing new wines for the tour,” Lyons said. “Corcoran Vineyards and Brewery are saying they are going to release their Tannat this weekend.”

    Lyons noted that the weekend attracts customers from all over the area and provides a bit of revenue for the county as well.

    “We get a lot of people from the Washington D.C. Metro area, Frederick County, Fauquier County, Prince George’s County and of course, Loudoun County. We even get people from as far away as Pennsylvania,” Lyons said. “After our Spring Farm Tour we gathered some numbers and found that approximately $44,000 in gross product sales was gained from the tour and approximately $8,500 was made from selling food and refreshment sales on site during the tour.”

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