By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
With the leaves beginning to turn colors and the feeling of fall filling the air, the Sixth Annual Prairie Dinner and Concert at Turtle Rock Farm will once again give its participating guests an intimate experience with nature.
The earth-lovers soirée will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4 at the farm in north central Oklahoma, near Billings. Sponsored by Green Connections OKC, the event is a joint effort of Turtle Rock Farm and Transition OKC.
Transition OKC advocates a more sustainable economy and a community lifestyle of working together, using creativity, innovation, and collaborative grassroots actions.
Turtle Rock is a 1600-acre farm dedicated to sustainability and spirituality. It became a retreat in 2007 to help others connect with nature.
The home of former governor and U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon, Turtle Rock is also a working farm run by Bellmon’s daughters, Pat Hoerth and Ann Denney.
“Something comes over us when we realize it’s time for the annual Green Connections’ Prairie Dinner and Concert,” said Hoerth. “It is our favorite evening of the whole year.
“Friends who care about the planet gather on the prairie for a leisurely afternoon, visit around the farm, an elegant dinner along Doe Creek, amazing music in the old round-top barn, with the Milky Way splashed all across the sky.”
The evening begins at 3 p.m. with a leisurely tour of the farm’s high tunnel garden, straw bale and mud hermitage; a walk on the prairie, a trek through the labyrinth and a visit with the animals.
At 5:30 p.m., guests will gather at Doe Creek where Chef Barb from Oklahoma City’s Kam’s Kookery will serve a five-course local foods dinner. Woods & Waters Winery and Vineyard, located in Caddo County, will provide the wine.
“Only the night air and the promise of something quite extraordinary could move us from the table,” Hoerth says. “We saunter down the road and into the old round-top barn, find places on straw bales, wrap our hands around mugs of hot cider and settle in for a concert by fiddler and entertainer extraordinaire, Kyle Dillingham.
“From that first strike of bow and string, we are carried into the night in a way that only his music can.”
Hoerth believes the evening can be a very special experience for visiting guests.
“Looking up finally, there was the Milky Way,” Hoerth said. “Two people told us that it was the most important night of their lives,”
Green Connections is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization committed to ecological education. Its mission is to help people connect with nature, get to know it more deeply and learn to live more sustainably.
Shauna Lawyer Struby, Transitions OKC team member said, “We’re very excited to be working with Green Connections/Turtle Rock — terrific people and place.”
Tickets are $75 per adult, $50 for children. Deadline for reservations is Oct 1.
“It includes a five-course local food meal with beverages, a tour of the farm and animals, and a concert complete with fire pit and apple cider — and it’s a fundraiser for a great cause – it’s a good deal,” said Struby.
Proceeds from the event go to Green Connections for its nature education programs.
Hoerth said, “Turtle Rock Farm Retreat is a gift we want to share. In our modern world, many of us don’t have the opportunity to be deeply involved in nature. So we invite people to come to our family farm and spend time paying attention to the natural world.”
For reservations visit www.greenconnectionsOK.org For more information about Turtle Rock Farm and Transition OKC, visit wwwturtlerockfarmretreat.com and www.goinglocalokc.com.