JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Autrey Nature Preserve and Heritage Center is teaming up with Johns Creek to host the Family Farm Festival, a first-of-its-kind event for the city.
The goal of the festival is to showcase the land’s history and remind locals what Johns Creek was like when it was all farmland. Autrey Mill has invited descendants of families who lived in the area in the 1800s and 1900s to speak at the event.
“We will be celebrating the community of people who lived, worked and supported one another long ago, when this land was a farm and milling operation,” Autrey Mill Board President Pam Sutton said.
The free festival will be Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Educational activities will include storytelling, heritage crafts and old-fashioned games.
Attendees will also be able to get up close with Autrey Mill’s collection of farm animals — including goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits — and learn about their care and the roles they played on the farm.
There will be outdoor cooking demonstrations and tastings, and picnic lunches will be available for purchase.
The event was made possible thanks to sponsorship from the Johns Creek Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The JCCVB saw this event as an opportunity to partner with one of the city’s top attractions, Autrey Mill Nature Preserve, to develop a new tourism product that would highlight the rich history of our city,” CVB Executive Director Shelby Marzen said. “When traveling, visitors are attracted to authentic experiences that are unique to the area, and this festival is certainly something that can only be found in Johns Creek.”
The Johns Creek Historical Society is coordinating activities for the descendants of early farm families and others with ties to local history.
“There will be opportunities to socialize and reminisce among themselves and also to share their memories of rural life with festival attendees,” Historical Society President Joan Compton said.
All of Autrey Mill’s historical buildings will be open for tours.
The Summerour House, built in the early 1880s, was originally located where the Spruill Oaks Library is currently on Old Alabama Road.
The Green General Store was open for business from the 1920s to the 1950s.
The Warsaw Church was built in the 1860s as Moravian Church.
The Tenant House is furnished with a wood cook stove and artifacts from the early 1900s.
The Bell-Taylor Farm Smokehouse is the most recent addition to Autrey Mill, moved from Cauley Creek land earlier this year.
The Farm Museum, made possible with a grant from the Johns Creek Foundation, includes story boards on Native American history and rural history, with farm tools and equipment on display
In addition, both the butterfly garden and heritage garden will be open to the public. And, three miles of walking trails are only steps away.