#EscapeWithNCAg is a year-long series that will focus on agritourism across North Carolina. Many farms, wineries and other agricultural businesses in our state offer events such as tours, yoga, educational classes, pick-your-own events and festivals, to entertain the public and teach them about our state’s number one industry. Each Thursday, we will feature a new site for you to visit with friends or family. Stay tuned and learn how to escape the stresses of life by diving into agriculture!
Decorating one Christmas tree is a lot of work for most families. Can you imagine decorating 60 Christmas trees in a matter of three days? Michelle Barsosky, owner of Chickadee Hill Farms in Statesville, and her team do so every year in preparation for their Annual Christmas Tree Festival. Although Michelle never dreamed of owning her own farm, through dedication and hard work, Chickadee Hill Farm has become one of the most well-known farms in the area, not only for the Christmas Tree Festival but also their wedding venue and mini pony rescue.
As a graduate of N.C. State Universities vet school program, Michelle has always had a strong love for animals, especially horses. Both of her twin daughters grew up riding horses as well, which only furthered her passion. “Originally the farm was strictly a hay farm when my husband and I purchased it from the previous owners,” Michelle said. “However, we knew that we wanted to do more on top of growing hay. So, we added on lavender, tulips, the wedding venue and the mini horse rescue.” Currently, the farm has nearly 1,000 bushes of lavender, several acres of tulips, 8 mini horses, two highland cows, a donkey and hay fields.
Three years ago, Michelle and her team decided to bring Christmas to the farm and the community through their annual Christmas Tree Festival. “The Christmas Tree Festival is a lot of work for my staff and I, but it brings so much joy to families across the state,” Michelle said. “We decorate 60 Christmas trees, all with different themes, that visitors can not only come to look at, but also possibly win through our raffle.” With the purchase of an admission ticket, each person will receive five free raffle tickets to win either a Christmas tree or one of twelve table arrangements. “The ‘hot topic’ tree this year is our Barbie tree, which has over 30 Barbie dolls, a Barbie jeep and more on it,” Michelle said. “We also have a variety of his and hers trees with gift cards for men, like Lowes and Bass Pro Shop, as well as gift cards for women, such as spa certificates.” Visitors could also take home the $500 tree, which is specifically for kids, or the $1,000 tree. “Each of these beautiful trees are grown in our state and range anywhere from $150 to $2,500 in face value,” Michelle said. “So, not only are people winning the contents of the tree itself, but also a breathtaking decoration for their home.” In addition to the Christmas trees on-site, Chickadee Hill Farms also has carnival games, food and drinks, Santa, mini pony experiences and more. Tickets for the annual Christmas Tree Festival are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Two and under will get in for free.
Each year, Chickadee Hill Farm hosts nearly 100 weddings for happy couples. Although they have a lot of competition in the area, Michelle feels that their farm offers a beautiful and unique experience for people to enjoy on their special day. “We have a fantastic team that works hard to ensure couples are perfectly satisfied on their wedding day, including a phenomenal planner,” Michelle said. “We also allow couples to use the mini ponies either during their photos or for the guests during cocktail hour. This gives a unique activity for people to do and enjoy while they wait for the bride and groom to get done taking photos, or the minis make adorable additions to the wedding photos themselves.” The wedding venue is also home to a bar that is inside of a Silo for guests to use at their leisure throughout the event. For more information on tour visits and wedding packages, see their website.
“When people visit our farm, they get really interested in our process of growing and harvesting lavender,” Michelle said. “It is such a unique crop in North Carolina that takes a lot of patience, precision, and hard work. I love educating people about the process and how it is grown.” Chickadee Hill Farms has planted their lavender in a circular pattern that is beautiful both from the ground as well as in the air. The path leads to a wooden swing where people can simply relax or take pictures together.
Although she loves every aspect of having people out to the farm, whether for weddings or the Christmas Tree Festival, Michelle’s favorite part is seeing families come back year after year. “I love that our farm has become a tradition for people to visit at Christmas time,” she said. “We have families that notice the new things that we add each year and comment on how much they love spending time at our farm. The joy on their faces is more than worth all the hard work that goes into each event.” Start planning your trip to Chickadee Hill Farms today and mark your calendar to attend next year’s Christmas Tree Festival. It typically starts on Black Friday and runs for nine days straight. We can’t wait to see how the farm will continue to make an impact on the community, state, and industry as a whole!