Dublin

Season to celebrate

Visitors, Fox family reminisce opening day Saturday as another summer of tradition and fun gets underway

  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.
  • The Friendly Farm in Dublin opened for its 50th year on Saturday.

The old saying change is good applies to just about everything, but at The Friendly Farm in Dublin seeing almost no changes throughout the years is what keeps costumers happy.

Sarah Kohrs-Monroe of Connecticut was a frequent visitor of the farm when she was a little girl. “It was one of my favorite places to go,” Kohrs-Monroe said on the farm’s opening day of the season Saturday during a visit to the farm. Several years later, a new generation visits the farm, and enjoys “pretty much the same,” Kohrs-Monroe said. Her three daughters visited for the first time on Memorial Day weekend, and they all said they loved it.

Saturday was not only opening day, but it also marked the 50th season for the farm, which opened in July 1965.

As the Kohrs-Monroe family eats lunch at a picnic table, dressed in rubber boots and a bottom shirt, owner Bruce Fox visited the table with a bucket of grain and offered Kohrs-Monroe’s daughters a snack. “This will give you all the fiber you will need for weeks, or I can feed it to sheep instead,” Fox joked.

Fox, who took over ownership of the Friendly Farm from his dad more than 30 years ago, said repeat costumers like Sarah Kohrs-Monroe and her family are what keeps them going. “Over two-thirds of the people that come have been here before. The only reason we have stayed in business for 50 years is because of our returning costumers. We depend not on tourists, but on local people or within a couple hours drive,” he said.

The farm is offering visitors special promotions to celebrate the 50th season. Discount cards for the season, which are normally $70, are $50 this year. Also, returning costumers will receive $1 off admission when they present a ticket from a previous visit. Another special is the Junior Farmer’s package, a season pass for kids.

Benjamin Fox, staff member of the farm and Bruce’s son, explained the promotion. “They pay $27.95 and it gives that child free admission the entire year and a free bag of grain every time they come.” Junior Farmers also receive a t-shirt and are given “a little extra work,” according to Benjamin. “It’s perfect for kids to come as often as they would like,” he said.

The Friendly Farm opened for the first time in July 1965 and was founded by Bruce’s dad, Allan Fox. Since then, the farm has been run by the Fox family.

For Bruce, visitors return to the Friendly Farm mainly because of the animals. “Here, whether you want to or not, a goat will come at you. It’s the contact with the animals that people enjoy most. We don’t offer anything else,” he said.

For Kohrs-Monroe, however, the easy-going atmosphere of the farm is what keeps her coming back. “Everyone feels comfortable to try everything and everyone is very laid back here. You can go in and visit the animals, and just relax and have a good time,” she said.

Bruce said around 20,000 people visit the farm yearly. The first season, however, they had just 800 visitors. “If we average a couple of hundred people a day, we are happy. We are not going to become any bigger,” Bruce said.

The Friendly Farm is open daily, weather permitting, from May 24 until Labor Day and then two weekends in September. It houses over 500 animals all together, including goats, sheep, chickens, cows, llamas, pigs, peacocks, geese and rabbits, in more than five acres of sprawling lawns and green pastures.

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