BY LEANN DILBECK –
Another phase of the Holly Springs Homestead opened last week and offers new fun fall adventures that the local area has not ever held before, complete with a corn maze, hay rides and pumpkin patch.
Owners Luke and Deedee Alston said that they have had a wonderful response from the public pulling visitors from three counties and expects that it will only continue to grow as the weather cools to more fall-like temperatures.
The Alstons have reserved Wednesdays for church groups and said they hosted their first last week from Faith Missionary Baptist. Deedee said she is already scheduling field trips for schools, 4H clubs, and the fun isn’t just for the young, but also for the young at heart as Alston explained she has even had an assisted living facility inquire.
Deedee said that groups are encouraged to call and schedule. General admission is Thursday and Friday from 3 pm until “dark 30.” Saturday opens at noon.
The Alstons have tapped into a resurgence of agritourism that Arkansas is well positioned to capitalize on and has already proved its positive economic impact within the state.
Agritourism is one of the fastest growing niche tourism markets in the industry and is a bridge between rural and urban communities. In Arkansas, agritourism encompasses a wide variety of acitivities that promote the agriculture of Arkansas including farmers markets, u-pick it farms, farm tours, eco-tourism ventures and trail rides.
It’s at the heart of the vision of the Alston’s with their business and wanting to help people disconnect to reconnect to their roots.
The Kids Farm, another facet of Holly Springs Homestead, was inspired by a rich childhood filled with a sister-like friendship and two little girls, Deedee and her friend Lynelle, who knew how to use their imagination!
Deedee said, “In today’s times, kids don’t always have the chance to enjoy down time. The very best times in childhood were those where imagination was all we had and we used things around us to create, pretend and discover. It was the best childhood a kid could have in my opinion. At The Kids Farm we’ve recreated a few of our favorite things for kids who may not otherwise have the chance to test their resourcefulness, play freely, imagine, dream and connect with the land.
It’s our goal to provide kids with that chance, if only for a day. There’s no rushing. No deadlines. No lines…. just come as you are and spend the day for some good ole fashioned play… and just be a kid,” said Deedee.
Every aspect of Holly Springs Homestead is designed to educate its guests in agri-education, farm to table, Arkansas crops, canning, gardening, etc., and its interactive.
For more information on Holly Springs Homestead, visit their Facebook page or give them a call at 479-243-6525. EBT and SNAP benefits, along with major credit cards are accepted. “We love our roots. There’s a lot of value and wisdom in what we do and we want to share it.”