The Lantern Theatre, Lantern Tours, etc. Moves to Dairy Barn
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by BWW News Desk
In 1975, Valley View resident, David Wingenfeld, purchased a farm on Tinkers Creek Road and began his dream of farming. Sticking to organic gardening guidelines, his Swan Farm grew into a year round operation producing fresh vegetables, trees, pumpkins and herbs.
In 2009, the Wingenfeld family extended their farm into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park by leasing the Gleeson Farm at the corner of Canal Road and Tinkers Creek from the Countryside Conservancy Initiative.
Renamed Canal Corners Farm & Market, the picturesque Gleeson farm house, built in 1853, and the massive, red barn, raised in 1905, is a stone's throw from the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. This summer, families visiting the park and exploring the Towpath Trail will have the opportunity to visit the big, red barn, step back into Ohio history and see the canal journey of a life-time, The Lantern Theatre production of Singin' on the Ohio.
It was the hope of Mr. Wingenfeld to establish lantern tours at Canal Corners this fall and so he asked two friends and Christmas tree customers, Jackie Percher and Bill Hoffman, if they could help develop such a tour. Having worked in the theatre, they offered to help, but when they saw the interior of the barn the idea of presenting lantern tours expanded into one of building a theatre and presenting plays that could be enjoyed by the whole family.
In 2003, Mr. Hoffman had produced a play about the Ohio-Erie Canal written by Cleveland-area playwright, Eric Schmiedl, as part of the Cleveland Play House Children's Theatre season. He explains, "At the time we knew this was a play that deserved to be produced somewhere near the canal. Set in 1845, it tells the tale of a young African-American girl, Bit Mullers, who must travel from Cleveland to Cincinnati to join her grandparents. She makes the first part of her journey aboard the canal boat, Annabelline, captained by Irish-American, Timothy Egan. As they travel down the canal to Portsmouth, she teaches him to read and he helps her overcome her shyness of singing. School audiences, K-8, and family audiences really responded to Eric's work and now we have an incredible space, a beautiful barn near the canal, in which to bring it back."