Take a magical history tour at Mayowood festival

Look closely and you just might spot fairies and brownies hiding on the lawn at Saturday’s second annual Mayowood Family Festival. In its first year as an official Rochesterfest event, this year’s "Magical Mayowood" theme plays on the Mayo children’s fascination with fairies and brownies and offers families the opportunity to get outdoors and experience local history through a fun, hands-on experience.

And although there’s a lot to do — history hunt, nature hike with naturalist Kirk Payne, visit from the Faerie Queene, make fairy gardens, Mayowood tours — Jane Yunginger, Mayowood Family Festival committee chair, recommends that part of your family’s experience entail "sitting on the lawn, listening to the live music and just enjoying the relaxing day." Picnic tables and blankets will be available for families wishing to take advantage of the lawn.

Currently owned and maintained by the Olmsted County Historical Society, the Mayowood Estate was once home to three generations of the Mayo family. Originally the centerpiece of a 3,000-acre farm, the 38-room mansion is filled with furniture, antiques and other family mementos. And the estate’s grounds are restored to their early 1900s beauty.

"I think many people don’t know it’s (Mayowood) here," Yunginger said. "They don’t know its history. At last year’s event we heard so many people say ‘I’ve lived here my entire life, I can’t believe I’ve never been here. It’s so beautiful.’"

Tickets may be purchased on Saturday at the History Center of Olmsted County or at Autumn Ridge Church. Adults $9 and $6 for children age 4 to 17. Parking is at Autumn Ridge Church. A free shuttle takes families to and from Mayowood. Food available for purchase. Period photos $5, costumes provided, husbands will comply if enough pressure is applied to arm twisting.


Family Time is written by Lindy Lange, editor of

If you go

What: Mayowood Family Festival

Where: Park at Autumn Ridge Church, 3611 Salem Road S.W.

When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Phone: 282-9447, History Center of Olmsted County

On the Web:,

Mayowood facts


• Public tours of Mayowood are available May through October. The cost is $12 for adults and $5 for youth under 15. Tickets are available at the history center. 

• Private tours are available for groups of 25 or more year round. Contact the history center.

• ’Tis the season for the Mayowood Christmas tours. Held Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 7-23, the tours showcase Mayowood decked out in its holiday finest. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations should be made at the history center. 


• More family calendar — Page XX.

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