Exciting Plans, Big Changes for Bob Evans Farm Festival

Multimillion Dollar Renovation Put to First Use at 41st Annual Festival

Sep 26, 2011, 11:16 ET from Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For 41 years, the Bob Evans Farm Festival has evolved to accommodate its growing popularity. What began as a small, local gathering has become a mecca for Bob Evans fans, attracting more than 30,000 visitors from 19 states for a weekend of arts & crafts, entertainment and – of course – delicious food, all for a great value.  This year, the festival will feature one of the most exciting developments to date: the unveiling of the Farm's recent renovations.

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The 41st Annual Farm Festival will be held Oct. 14-16 at the original Bob Evans Homestead and Farm in Rio Grande, Ohio, with activities, exhibits and presentations offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. This year, the festival will have a fresh look as the Farm celebrates both its rich history and its bright future on its newly renovated grounds.

"It truly is a new day at Bob Evans Farm," says Bob Evans Farms, Inc. Chairman and CEO Steve Davis. "We recognize that the Farm is the touchstone of the Bob Evans culture. We've made extensive changes to make the Farm and the festival experience even better for our guests."

Changes scheduled to be completed before the opening bell of this year's festival include:

  • The renovation of the existing Quilt Barn to a flexible space that can host receptions, meetings and other events – all with the option of delicious Bob Evans catering.
  • An enhanced entry to the Homestead museum
  • Preservation and relocation of the historic Adamsville log cabin village closer to the Homestead and more visible to guests.
  • The unveiling of the renovated Union Stockyards & Transit Authority Sign, a unique piece of livestock memorabilia purchased by Bob Evans more than 40 years ago.
  • The resurfacing, grading and overall improvements to the Farm Festival field, which will help prevent flooding and improve accessibility and overall experience.
  • The complete rebuilding of the first Bob Evans Restaurant in existence, Restaurant #1, which sits on the Farm's property.

"The decision to invest in our brand icon was an easy one to make," states Davis. "This renovation pays homage to our founder, who believed that farm-fresh food brings families together."

Year after year, the Bob Evans Farm Festival offers a wide array of entertaining attractions and interactive activities to bring the family together for an extremely affordable cost. At just $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-18 (children under 6 get in free), parking included in admission costs, and affordable, homestyle food served all day long, the Festival serves as great value for a family weekend or one-tank-trip spent "down on the farm."

Attendees can unplug from today's busy world and have some real hands-on Farm fun by learning how to milk a cow, shear a sheep or get tutorials from a blacksmith or soap maker in the Farm's traditional crafts area. Kids and parents alike can join the pie-eating contest, climb to the top of the hay bale castle, or take a tractor ride around the farm grounds in the kids' area.  

Families will also enjoy cloggers performing traditional folk dancing, also called  "Appalachian tap dancing," join in the fun at a Border Collie herding demonstration, or kick back to the sounds of authentic American bluegrass, gospel and country music. Look for 2010 International Bluegrass Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out to headline on Sunday afternoon.

"Folks come from every direction, near and far, to see where it all began and join in the festivities," says Ray McKinniss, manager of Bob Evans Farm. "We're excited to offer our guests the traditions they know and love with an added bonus of our new grounds."

At this year's 41st Farm Festival, guests and Bob Evans employees alike will have the opportunity to revel in the history of the farm and Homestead where the Evans family lived and worked for more than 20 years, while confidently and eagerly anticipating the new day ahead for the farm, the brand, and the legacy that Bob Evans built.

For more information about this year's Farm Festival, including a full list of activities, directions, and entertainment schedule, visit www.bobevans.com/farmfestival. Or watch for updates at www.twitter.com/farmmanray.

About Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. owns and operates full-service restaurants under the Bob Evans and Mimi's Cafe brand names. At the end of the first fiscal quarter (July 29, 2011), Bob Evans owned and operated 563 family restaurants in 18 states, primarily in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States, while Mimi's Cafe owned and operated 145 casual restaurants located in 24 states, primarily in California and other western states. Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is also a leading producer and distributor of pork sausage and a variety of complementary convenience food items under the Bob Evans and Owens brand names. For more information about Bob Evans Farms, Inc., visit www.bobevans.com .

SOURCE Bob Evans Farms, Inc.