Harvest Fest to be part of Fall Pilgrimage

Oakland Plantation

Cane River Creole National Historical Park, with the Cane River National Heritage Area, will host a Harvest Fest, in celebration of Cane River’s agriculture heritage and as part of the 63rd Fall Tour of Homes. Harvest Fest will be Saturday, Oct. 14 at Oakland Plantation.

Children can take part in a “Bring Your Own Pumpkin” decorating contest from 10 a.m. – noon. Prizes will be awarded for the most original, funniest, best use of gray and green colors and best use of recycled materials. There will also be games, a hay bale maze and face painting by the Natchitoches Parish Library for young visitors.

Local author Harvis “Junior” Johnson will be signing his book, “Tales of a Boy from Cane River,” from 1-3 p.m. You may also experience “Oakland Underground” with ranger-led tours of the Nanny’s Room under the Main House at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The park will join other historic sites within the Cane River National Heritage Area for this year’s Fall Tour of Homes Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Oakland has been featured in the annual Fall Tour since 1954. On a typical day, park rangers provide guided tours, but during the Fall Tour, the Prud’homme family returns to their ancestral home. Several generations of Prud’hommes will be giving tours and talking with the public.

Visitors will also visit with other former Oakland residents. Elvin Shields and his family were sharecroppers at Oakland in the 1950s. Today, Shields is a local folk artist, known for his “Plantation Toys.” He will be at Oakland to talk about his childhood memories and show examples of the toys he and his brother would have played with. Mary Metoyer’s father and grandfather were employed as yardmen or overseers at Oakland. Visitors will talk with Metoyer about life on the plantation in the creole cottage that was home to three generations of the Metoyer family.

There is no entrance fee at Oakland Plantation and all tours and activities are free. For more information, call 318- 352-0383 ext. 200.