Farmfest 2018: The purest of Michigan events

JOHANNESBURG — 20th Annual Farmfest is set to be the biggest one yet.

This intimate music festival takes place Thursday, Aug 9 through Sunday, Aug 12, at Home Comfort Farms, 1865 Roby Road. This purely Michigan event features 72 acts hailing from all over the state performing from the second you pass through the festival gates. With two stages, a dance pavilion, a kids' area and a full-service cafe on 40 acres of land, Farmfest 2018 is poised to be unforgettable.

Stacy Jo Schiller has been tirelessly producing this event as part of her farm's business model. The event began 1998 with a humble 360 patrons and has evolved into a major event where over 1,700 people from multiple generations come to enjoy art, music and Northern Michigan's majestic atmosphere.

The entire property is a veritable musical melange with performances and activities happening throughout. What really makes this festival special is that it "create itself." Artists, musicians, and patrons create impromptu events within the event. From live painting to casual jam sessions to educational workshops, the relaxed atmosphere captures the spirit of this very special event.

Kids' activities are on the agenda this year with a ton of crafts, giveaways and workshops geared to educate and entertain the young. There is even a talent show and an "Open Mic-less" where festival goers can see their little ones perform.

This year the festival is also focusing on including the farm's organic produce.

"This year at 'Farm,' we're taking extra steps to try and incorporate as much of the produce that is grown at the farm into our menu," said Gabe Awrey, this year's Farmfest chef. "Those include a lot of vegetable-related items and vegetarian options for the people too."

"On top of that every night for dinner we are going to try for the first time to run a buffet option. That'll include chicken legs, corn on the cob, veggies salad a taco bar one night, a pulled pork sandwich station the other night and a chicken dinner the last night. And of course, we will always offer burgers, hot dogs, brats, kids options. Just easy food for people who need a little boost at the end of the festival"

The lighting of the Yule Log is at 9 p.m. Friday. Gather around the fire and exchange memories from Farmfests past with "Banjo Jim."

Saturday will feature a Candle Light Labyrinth Walk. With over 300 candles available this is sure to be a magical sight. Candles will be available after dark on Saturday. You can walk the labyrinth and place your candle within it. Afterward, chill by the fire where Ron Fowler will be telling ghost stores. Troubadours will walk through the grounds giving information and entertaining crowds.

Farmfest is hosted on a 110-year-old, 40-acre homestead farm sited a short distance east of Johannesburg.

"The land is mostly wooded with beautiful walking trails that wind through rolling terrain some cleared and some upland, old growth hardwood forest," according to farm-fest.com.

The event is BYOB and has an open bar in a secluded section for anyone who meets the age requirements.

This year will feature a Local's Sunday anyone with a valid ID form Otesgo or Montmorency counties can enter the festival for $10 instead of the full $35 entry fee. No pets are allowed.

To see more, visit farm-fest.com.