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House Tours

The Farm in Shelton brings country charm to weddings

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MARY JANE SKALA Hub Staff Writer

Weddings in 2022 are expected to take place in record numbers. This upcoming life-changing event is the perfect opportunity to get on the same wavelength about finances, if you haven’t already. Johana Restrepo from PennyGem has more.


SHELTON – It’s been two years since an aging barn and farmhouse just west of Shelton experienced a renaissance and became The Farm, a one-of-a-kind wedding venue.

Sheep, goats, horses and stable cats once lived in that old barn. Now it’s a place where couples exchange wedding vows under a sparkling chandelier and then head outside for a reception. There is also a dance floor and a pergola surrounded by cornfields.

The Farm is an offshoot of The Village, a party and reception center at 1920 A Avenue that was a rusty warehouse until its transformation in 2019.

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The centerpiece of the farm’s barn creates a picturesque scene for wedding guests to enjoy after the sun goes down.


WITH PERMISSION OF THE VILLAGE FARM


“I think we’re doing well,” said Alissa Kern, owner of The Village and The Farm. “It is certainly nice to be at the back of the start-up. A few years ago, people heard about The Farm and said, “What’s that?” Now people know where we are. We are on the map.”

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It is fully booked for 2023, with 16 weddings planned and another already on the books for 2024. In 2022, there were 19 weddings at The Farm. The 112 year old farmhouse on site was booked separately for 12 events.

Kern receives warm feedback from brides who held their wedding there. “The farm was so beautiful. When we toured it, we fell in love with it,” a recent bride told Kern.







Pastoral atmosphere

Simple flowers and natural showpieces on dining tables enhance the charm of The Farm.


COURTESY OF THE VILLAGE


“It’s a beautiful and unique venue, a great place for a wedding reception for people who want everything from rustic to country to simple elegant atmosphere,” said another.

Sarah Ritz, The Village’s event planner, takes potential clients on tours of the home and grounds. She is also on site when they arrive for their big weekend. A native of Mason City and a graduate of Concordia College, she handles the myriad of details involved.







Sarah Ritz

Sarah Ritz


MARY JANE SKALA, KEARNEY HUB


“What do I like about this job?” she asked, repeating a question. Her face broke into a smile. “I love it all, giving people tours, meeting the family, helping them find a date that works. Just helping people.”

The village and more

Kern opened The Village in October 2019. She purchased the dilapidated warehouse and transformed it into a venue for wedding receptions and other events such as birthday, anniversary and graduation parties. Business overflowed and in early 2020 she started looking for a second location.

“We were so fully booked. We kept getting calls and we kept saying we weren’t available,” she said at the time. Even worse, COVID-19 forced her to temporarily close The Village in Spring 2020. That disrupted weddings and other planned events.







Welcome to The Farm

The Farm is located near Shelton, on the banks of the Wood River.


MARY JANE SKALA, KEARNEY HUB


But it also gave her time to find a second site, which she did. On Facebook, she discovered a 10-acre farm and ranch for sale north of Gibbon, just north of the Wood River. When she drove out to look at it, the owner wasn’t home, so she peeked through the windows.

In the barn she found sheep, goats, two donkeys, quail, a dog and numerous cats.







The dining room

The dining room in the 112-year-old farmhouse is painted in soft pastels. The farmhouse is part of the weekend rental package for bridal couples.


MARY JANE SKALA, KEARNEY HUB


After purchasing the property, she and her event planner at the time, Morgan Karlberg, made plans to renovate. The COVID closures gave them plenty of time to do so. Friends and family helped repaint the home’s hunter green and burgundy walls in pretty pastels. They brought an old piano. They created a warm bridal suite upstairs and hung fabrics on the walls of the guest room.

In the bathroom they replaced the large bathtub with a bathtub.

Then they went to work in the barn. They poured cement over the dirt floor and added windows on the north side to let in light. They installed electricity and interior heating and placed a large awning on the north side of the exterior for shade at outdoor events.







A renovated farmhouse

This 112 year old renovated farmhouse on the property is part of the wedding package. It has a honeymoon suite and much more.


MARY JANE SKALA, KEARNEY HUB


They also hung up a glittering chandelier that Kern had found in a garbage can. “It had metal rings and a few strands of beads. I added a lot of beads and in the center they put an old lamp that came from an old house. I added more lights,” Morgan Karlberg, the former event planner, said at the time.

With the coop and second floor removed in the barn, the barn’s ceiling was so high that electricians installed the chandelier using an old pulley system farmers used to lift hay to the coop.







The barn chandelier

This chandelier hangs in the barn. Electricians rigged up an old pulley system to install it.


MARY JANE SKALA, KEARNEY HUB


Also added were 200 old grandstands from the renovated soccer field of the SEM high school that Kern found on Facebook. Her father, Nick VanMatre, made tables and chairs out of it. Friend Chuck Gomez built a concrete walkway and a 100-by-100-foot pergola.

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They put a concrete dance floor between the shed and the pergola and hung small white lights outside to make the shed sparkle.







Reception in full swing

Wedding guests enjoy a reception at The Farm as the evening sun fades.


COURTESY OF THE VILLAGE


Worth the wait

Now heading into its third season, The Farm is thriving. Couples rent it from Friday 1pm to Sunday 1pm. They must provide their own catering, florist and disc jockeys or bands. The Farm provides tables and chairs and black and white table linen.

Kern noted that The Farm reflects non-traditional wedding trends that are gaining popularity, but it also has its own quirks.

‘There is beauty here. You might see a deer approach during the ceremony, or see a sunset in the evening that you won’t see in the middle of the city. The Farm gives guests an experience they may never have had before.”