As hundreds of children ran around laughing and squealing at Loma Vista Farms on Saturday, Julia Allen looked around and could only smile.
“It’s such a pleasure to be here today and see all the people,” said the current president of Friends of Loma Vista Farms. “We have such loyal fans, families who come here again and again, but I also always look forward to meeting new people. I have no idea how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh my God, this is a beautiful place and I never knew it was here all this time.”
Loma Vista Farms hosted a Spring Open House on Saturday, an event that served the community in both an educational and fun way.
Many children walked around the farm petting chickens, rabbits, goats and sheep, just to name a few. The children were also given stories by Solano County Superintendent Erin Hannigan, the Vallejo Fire Department, and the Vallejo Police Department. The children were also entertained by a puppet show in which many children screamed when delighted when a pie was stolen in the story and the children listening had to find the culprit.
Others, like 13-year-old Ivan Vo, enjoyed walking around and holding some of the animals.
“I really like rabbits,” Waugh said. “They are very soft and calm. But I like all animals, like chickens and goats, and the fact that you can pet them too.”
Allen said the open day was a way for Loma Vista Farms to showcase the progress they’ve made, such as with the recent alpaca farm and goat barn, both of which have been completed in the past two years.
“Today we want to show people the 10 year master plan and how we want to expand and modernize the farm,” Allen said. “Some of the buildings are now in excellent condition and we want to restore them. We want the Wi-Fi to be better here so that kids can have more interactive learning experiences. We want to give cows and goats more space. We are thinking about putting the cows next to the parking lot, or we could send them up the hill in front of the greenhouse.”
Working at the greenhouse on Saturday was Vallejo Unified School District farm owner Rita Leroy, who said she enjoyed the event because “the community came forward.”
“Today we can celebrate this wonderful place,” Leroy said. “We are here today only out of love for a community that wants to see the beauty of the gardens and the life of all the animals. This place has received so much help from many organizations, be it physical or financial. It’s amazing to see all these wonderful things come to life today.”
Leroy said she often heard children say they wanted to see chickens and rabbits, and both she and Allen thought it was because they were smaller and the kids could handle them.
“The same kids from the extracurricular program come to me every day, and when they go to the chickens, it looks like they just won the lottery,” Leroy said with a laugh. “And they act that way every time.”
Event coordinator Jennifer Shinar agreed with Leroy.
“Just seeing all these kids getting excited about all the animals is what I’m here for and what keeps me coming back,” Shinar said. “But the hottest item seems to be the chickens.”
Connie Klimish, board member of Loma Vista, said she liked a lot about the farm, but she loved the fact that the art is made from wool and the way children are involved in how people spin the wool.
Loma Vista Farms is located at 150 Reiner Avenue and is open weekdays from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm.