Augusta County’s famous lawyer and sheep farmer Francis Chester welcomes visitors with a broad smile to celebrate fall at the Cestari Pumpkin Fest at his family’s central Shenandoah Valley farm in Churchville that runs this weekend, October 11-12, and next weekend, October 18-19. Spend a day outdoors in the fresh country air, enjoy the Appalachian Mountain vistas and colorful autumn leaves, and take part in fun fall activities on the farm that include:
- Pick Your Own Pumpkin
- Wagon Rides
- Farm Zoo
- Haunted Barn
- Vendor Opportunities
This family-run sheep farm that mills its own wool — one a only a handful left in the United States — has become famous worldwide and can be found at trade shows around the country. Their mail order business includes sheep-related products that can also be found at retail outlets nationwide as well as Australia, Brazil, and Canada, and at Cestari Farm store in Churchville.
The Cestari brand has been awarded numerous honors, including Virginia’s Finest for yarn and lamb and Best of Virginia Made 2013.
Owner Francis Chester is a lifelong farmer even though he is also a lawyer. As a young boy growing up on Long Island, NY, Francis learned vegetable gardening, how to milk goats and care for chickens while living in a house his family rented on a farm. He soon began selling the farm products he helped produce door-to-door, and opened a successful farm stand in Roslyn Heights. His family acquired sheep, and his love for sheep farming was born.
In 1968, Francis and his wife Diane sold their farm in New York and moved to Virginia where they and their children have continued to farm. Today he and daughter Sabrina are the resident lawyers, and both are also the resident farmers along with the rest of the family.
Don’t forget to sign up for the fun farm-inspired Cestari Harvest Run that will be held on Saturday, October 25.
Come find the perfect pumpkin in the sincerest pumpkin patch in Augusta County! (See photos from a previous Cestari Pumpkin Festival.) The Chesters are donating 10 percent of all gross receipts to Staunton’s St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Restoration Fund. See you at the Pumpkin Fest!