Swifty Farms planning fall festival

As cooler temperatures start to creep in and the colors of leaves begin to change, fall activities are beginning to emerge across Jackson County.

With the absence of one widely popular attraction, Fear Fair, that announced it was closing its doors in May of this year, this will be the first Halloween families and friends will not be able to enjoy the shrieks of ghosts and ghouls at that Freeman Field venue.

Some in the community have even taken to Small Town Strong, a large social media group within Jackson County, to see if something else could be planned for families to enjoy during this time of year.

Without hesitation, Tiffany Johnson, co-land owner of Swifty Farms, offered up her grounds to host a fall festival for the community to visit and enjoy from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 7.

“We just want to open the farm up to the public and bring the community together. It’s such a beautiful space,” Johnson said.

Swifty Farms is a large family-operated thoroughbred farm at 351 S. U.S. 31 south of Seymour.

The operation was founded in 1972 by Don Myers and named in homage to his Swifty Oil Co. Myers married Dana in 1980, and together, they grew the farm into Indiana’s largest and leading thoroughbred racing and breeding farm. After Don’s passing in 2013 and Dana’s in 2020, Johnson and her brother, Nick Goings, took over operations of the farm.

In the past few months, Johnson has used the family home and grounds as more than a place for business but for those in the community to enjoy, as well.

Besides the fall festival, Johnson and Valerie Burns have come together to plan other events, such as a car show called Hoods and Horses along with other special events surrounding the Kentucky Derby in May.

The fall festival will include horse rides, trolley rides, pumpkin picking and some bouncy houses for kids to enjoy. Thirteen craft vendors and the SnoBiz Seymour food truck also will be present for those interested in shopping for local goods.

“In the future, we would like to tap into that spooky aspect and possibly add a haunted corn maze or something to that effect,” Johnson said. “There wasn’t enough time to prepare for something like that, but eventually, we hope to add that aspect if we get a good response from the community.”

Johnson said so far, they have seen a lot of interest for the festival online and hope to get a good turnout for the event.

She said they are always looking for sponsors or vendors and are happy to connect with those who would like to help.

“You can’t have a festival without a face painter, so that’s what I am searching for right now,” Burns said.

Johnson said the hope is to have the festival grow each year as they implement new activities.

“In the future, we hope to do a scary movie night along with the festival, and that is something we are planning for the upcoming years,” Johnson said. “We just want to grow from here on out and want to be sure to take all of the necessary steps to seek the permits we need for the things we would like to add in the future. We hope to host this every year if we get a good response from the community.”

Johnson said the festival is the perfect opportunity for families to come and enjoy the open nature of the farm before heading to downtown Seymour to enjoy the Oktoberfest.

As of now, the price to attend the festival is $20 per vehicle, which includes access to all activities besides purchases made from vendors, and parking will be available.

“We are excited for people and families to come out and enjoy what Jackson County has to offer,” Johnson said.