Photo Essay: Farmington welcomes fall with Harvest Moon Celebration

While the Harvest Moon cloaks cooler evenings in an orange glow, the residents of Farmington gather during the weekend encompassing the autumnal equinox.  They come together to celebrate the end of summer and usher in the new season at the city's Harvest Moon Celebration. They revel in music, food truck fare, wine, and especially beer from local breweries like the nearby Farmington Brewing Company.

“Hundreds show up, and we have a strong volunteer base, which helps us make this event happen,” says Kate Knight, executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority.

As the crowds gathered, Metromode joined in to learn more about Farmington, a close-knit town of about 8,000 residents. What drew people to this community? What do they like about it?

We share their thoughts and the sights of Farmington’s Harvest Moon Celebration in the Sundquist Pavilion, right in the heart of downtown.

Richard Pointon

Richard Pointon bought his home in Farmington on land contract the year before he graduated from high school. “I came home and my dad asked me what I did that day. I said ‘I bought a house in Farmington,’” he says. Now 68 and retired from the construction industry, Pointon has lived in Farmington for 45 years. This evening, he served as the keeper of the bonfire, but during the day, he loves to fly a kite. “Where the pavilion sits, the wires are under the ground, and the trees aren’t too big, so there is space to fly without getting into too much trouble,” he says. Pointon likes Farmington because it is a safe community, filled with nice people, and its close enough to Brighton for him to visit his twin 8-year old grandkids.

Richard Pointon. Photo by David Lewinski.

Erica Pietrzyk, Pierogi Queen

Erica Pietrzyk, Pierogi Queen, brings her traveling pierogi to Farmington because she says the city’s event facilitators are on point. “They definitely make it easier to serve at events like this,” she says. This evening, her southwest Detroit-based company Pietrzyk Pierogi, served Dill Pickle Soup, Kielbasa dogs, Kowlaski smoked Kielbasa with spicy mustard and sauerkraut on a bun. But the main attraction were the eight varieties of the traditional Polish doughy delights, including the OG (potato and cheese), and Becky (jalapeno poppers, cream cheese, and cheddar). Because her boyfriend grew up in Farmington, Pietrzyk, 31, visits the city often. “It’s really a beautiful city, and everyone is super friendly,” she says.

Erica Pietrzyk. Photo by David Lewinski.

Todd Craft

Todd Craft moved to Farmington six years ago with his wife, Cathi Waun. They work together at their downtown Farmington company, City Life Realty, and each is deeply involved in volunteer civic responsibilities in town. “We didn’t feel a sense of community in West Bloomfield where we used to live. We had already been coming to events here in Farmington and we knew we wanted to move here. We looked for houses for about a year and a half. When the right one came up, we bought it, fixed it up, and moved in,” Craft, 56, says. As president of the Farmington DDA, Craft feels a sense of satisfaction when people filter into the Sundquist Pavilion, whether it's for the Harvest Moon Festival, the farmers’ market, weekly swing dancing, or winter ice skating. “This space and this event is a big part of what the DDA does. Someone comes up with the idea, we help find the money, and we make it happen,” he says.

Todd Craft. Photo by David Lewinski.

Mark, Kathy, and Katie Stieber

Mark, Kathy, and Katie Stieber moved to Farmington from Plymouth 20 years ago. They love Farmington’s convenient location, which they say is central to their places of employment. Gathering in the downtown area for events is a fun family activity for them, and Mark, who’s 61 and works in IT project management, says he’s happy that the Farmington Brewing Company has settled into the area. “Businesswise, it can still be a fairly transient area. It needs to get more anchors to bring more people in,” he says. Kathy is 54 and works as a safety engineer, and Katie, 22, a recent graduate of Central Michigan University, is a student teacher in Northville for a group of eighth graders.

Mark, Kathy, and Katie Stieber. Photo by David Lewinski.

Kathleen and Ed Mroz

Kathleen and Ed Mroz have lived in Farmington for 27 and one-half years. They moved from Ferndale, which they say did not live up to its current label of “fashionable” back then. Kathleen is just turning 60 and works as an eighth-grade science teacher in Northville, and to prove the small-town feel of this community, she knows student teacher Katie Stieber. She enjoys shopping in downtown Farmington because “it has a much more personal feel and no big parking lots.” Ed is 65 and works as a self-employed designer and prop manager for photographic and video sets. “We like events like this one and the farmers’ market. The pavilion creates a very nice focal point,” Ed says. Among his favorite shops are The Cheese Lady and Chive Kitchen.
“It’s a really good vegetarian restaurant,” he says.

Kathleen and Ed Mroz. Photo by David Lewinski.

Lydia Macklin-Camel

Lydia Macklin-Camel is events coordinator for Farmington DDA, and has lived here her whole life, apart from when she was completing her degree in geography from Michigan State University. A self-proclaimed “recycling nerd,” Macklin-Camel, who is 26, is fascinated by the concept of urban placemaking, which she believes Farmington does well. “Farmington does a great job of incorporating green space into public spaces,” she says. Macklin-Camel’s childhood memories include the iconic Silver Dairy, and especially the sixty-cent cones before 4 p.m. “We’d come home from school and scour the couch for coins,” she says. Most of all, Macklin-Camel loves the sense of community she feels in Farmington. “I love that I can run through town and high-five the runner next to me, and see people I know everywhere. It’s really beautiful here, and it’s always so clean. I’m proud of that.”

Lydia Macklin-Camel. Photo by David Lewinski.

Larry Kilner

Larry Kilner is a 42-year resident of Farmington. For many years, he has designed the Harvest Moon Celebration floral wreath that welcomes guests to the pavilion. It makes perfect sense to assume that Kilner enjoyed a long career in floral design, but he’s actually a retired sales executive in capital health equipment. Most of the floral stems Kilner used were harvested wildflowers from along Freedom Road, except for the sunflowers, which Kilner grew as part of Sunflower Explosion, an annual Farmington Beautification Committee sunflower growing contest. “We sell small sunflower plants, and then have a contest of who can grow the tallest plant, or the most sunflowers, and so on,” says Kilner, who, at 73, is chair of the committee.

Larry Kilner. Photo by David Lewinski.
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