| Aug 14, 2014

If the number of cars parked on the lawn in front of the Land O' Lakes Petting Farm on Road 506, near Cloyne was any indication, the farm's Family Day fundraiser on August 10, was a resounding success. The event attracted residents and tourists from all over the area, who enjoyed a leisurely day exploring the outdoor pens, the barn and ponds that are home to the farm's over 50 rescued animals. Animal lovers of all ages petted and fed the horses, donkeys, mules, llamas, sheep, lambs and pigs, all of whom seemed as pleased to receive the attention as the visitors were to give it.

Owner Barry Smith gave tours of the large barn, which is home to numerous ducks, geese, peacocks, rabbits and a gosling with a broken wing named Skeeter, the newest member of the bunch.

One of the day's special draws was Zanzar the Magical Genie, who put on a show that included numerous tricky escapes, fire breathing and his showstopper - turning a dove into a rabbit. Another draw was the five piece band, the Original Slam Grass Orchestra, formerly known as the Tweed Twangers, who played a fabulous line up of what they call “poly-ethnic Cajun country slam grass”. The music was very danceable. The band also provided instruments for fellow twangers.

The Smiths were some of the busiest people there, with Barry on tour duty while Donna had her hands full manning the main gate and the main kitchen area, where guests could enjoy a BBQ lunch, fresh corn on the cob and other sweet treats. Donna was thrilled with the turnout, which she estimated at over 400 visitors. Funds raised from the fun day will help the Smiths keep the animals well fed and looked after throughout the year, which is especially hard to do in the winters months, when they do not get many visitors. Donna said guests not only help the animals to heal by allowing them the chance to trust humans again, but also are therapeutic for people, especially those with developmental disabilities and other medical issues. Animals are known to bring a sense of joy and calm and well being to all who are fortunate enough to visit them. Donna said that the farm is constantly being inundated with sick, injured or unwanted animals and that she and Barry strongly believe that “These animals deserve to live a humane life and to be free from suffering.”

The educational farm is run solely by volunteers, with many local students doing their community hours there. The farm is also visited regularly by school children at the North Addington Education Centre and is part of their grade 2 curriculum. Special needs students at NAEC are also regular visitors.

The fun day was the farm's second fundraiser in its five-year history and Donna Smith is hoping to make the event an annual one.

For those who would like to donate, call 613-336-0330 or visit the farm at 1200 Road 506 near Cloyne.

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