Chestnuts will he roasted over open fires this Saturday in New Franklin for the MU research center’s fall festival.

The annual Chestnut Roast Festival is held every fall at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin. Chestnuts grown at the center will be roasted for visitors to sample, and Cedar Hill Farms in Marshall will be there selling their chestnuts, said senior research and lab technician Cheryl Recker. People come to the festival from all over to buy chestnuts each fall, she said.

Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival includes plenty for children to do, Recker said. There will be straw and hay bales to play on, a pumpkin patch to pick from, hay rides, games, props for photos, and the Whiz Bang science show, she said.

If the weather permits, there will be a Conestoga wagon on display. The center’s FACMA harvester, which is used to harvest and deburr the chestnuts, will also be on display. At the Hickman House, there will be live demonstrations of willow basket weaving, crochet rug making, flint knapping to make arrowheads and making wooden bowls on a lathe.

To mark 200 years since the Hickman House was built, the center installed speakers in the house to play an audio tour. The house will be open throughout the day for visitors to see.

There will be presentations throughout the day:

Ray Glendening of the South Howard County Historical Society will present on the history of the Hickman House, one of the oldest, intact brick houses in the state, built in 1819. Ben Hamrah, executive chef of Peachtree Catering, will do a cooking demonstration with local and foraged foods. Sarah Lovell, director of the Center for Agroforestry, will present on agroforestry in your backyard. Ron Revord and Aaron Clare will present on growing hybrid hazelnuts in the Midwest. Sam Sergent will give an update on his elderberry research. Bill Ruppert will present on native plants.

“We would love to have everybody come out,” Recker said. “If they can’t, they can call the office and we’d be happy to schedule a tour.”

bcrowley@gatehousemedia.com