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Fantasy and wonder: Franklin Farm event features vendors, music, tours

Fantasy and wonder: Franklin Farm event features vendors, music, tours


The idyllic path winds through the garden of Pleasant View Farm, imbued with a sense of magic.

Irises of all colors blow in the breeze. The flowers are blooming and leaning towards the rising sun. Stone benches and ornamental decorations dot the garden beds. Sunlight glistens off glass globes and other trinkets.

Whimsy fills the air – a perfect place to share with the community.

For one weekend only, Pleasant View Farm opens to the public to shop from various vendors, listen to live music, and bask in the beauty of the farm’s gardens. Whimsy and Blooms is an annual celebration encouraging people to gather and enjoy the historic property on the outskirts of Franklin.

Hosted by Connie McAlpin, who lives on the farm with her husband, Glenn, and Jennifer McAlpin-Shireman, her daughter and owner of Vintage Whimsy in Franklin, the family sees it as a celebration of their history and community.

“It’s rewarding in the end, despite the hard work, because people benefit from our family farm. They enjoy our home and they can see all the beautiful things my mom has created,” McAlpin-Shireman said.

Pleasant View Farm has been a working grain farm in the family since 1830. McAlpin and her husband moved into the old Victorian farmhouse in 1992. They have worked tirelessly to restore the house, fix the rotting floor joists , replacing everything from windows to exterior and repairing electrical and water systems.

Renovations and updates have gone on for years. As work progressed inside the house, McAlpin turned her attention to the gardens.

“We came before we even moved in. I started bringing my flowers from my other house,” she said. “I’ve always loved creating new things; I like change. The house is finished, and we’re not going to change that, so that’s what I’m working on now.

The house and gardens have been featured in a number of local publications, including Old House Journal, Farm Indiana, and Homes & Lifestyles of South-Central Indiana. They were a stop on the Franklin Heritage Historic Home Tour.

But McAlpin and McAlpin-Shireman wanted an opportunity to show the property to the community in person.

“I thought (McAlpin) spent so much time making everything look so good, and more people should enjoy it,” McAlpin-Shireman said. “I’m good at organizing events, and she’s great at it, so I asked if we could do that.”

This is the fourth year for Whimsy and Blooms, which has grown every year. At the heart of the event is the vendor’s fair which fills the vast lawn of the farm.

More than 60 vendors are scheduled to have stalls, selling everything from vintage items and antiques to plants and garden decor.

“We carefully select all of our suppliers. I would say it’s a juried show, where we select the best and most talented people,” McAlpin-Shireman said.

Food trucks offer snacks and treats, while musicians will perform to add to the ambience. Members of the Johnson County Garden Club offer assistance with garden tours.

Friday night is designated as the VIP experience, where ticket holders have early access to vendors and the chance to explore the gardens first.

The Saturday event lasts all day and is open to everyone.

“We invite them to spend the day. There will be tables and chairs set up all around here, and they can listen to music. This is the opening of their private home to the public, so we want them to feel like they can stay,” McAlpin-Shireman said.

For McAlpin, who has a large following on Instagram, the event is a chance to connect his digital domain with his real gardens.

“It’s exciting for us because we’re attracting people from different states. Last year we had people from Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois. So it’s fun to meet some of these people,” she said.

Preparations have been going on for weeks as McAlpin lays the groundwork. It was blocked by the tornado and storms that hit the county on March 31; a tree fell over and other damage had to be cleaned up.

“It pushed me to try to figure out what to do about it,” she said.

The McAlpin family hopes the event will not only serve as a showcase for their property’s magical gardens, but perhaps inspire others as they work on their own outdoor spaces.

“People come to do their shopping, they go around the garden. Our hope is that people will be inspired and then can go shopping at our vendors and pick things up for themselves and their gardens,” McAlpin-Shireman said.




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