Snow Days at Frying Pan Farm Park

Did you know that the staff at Frying Pan Farm Park are “essential personnel” who must work when there’s snow or a blizzard? 

“It’s super important for the farmers to come in every day, especially when it snows,” said Farmhand Olivia Madigan. “When it gets cold, the water tanks freeze over, and it’s up to us to break the ice for the farm critters to get their water for the day. For really cold days, we like to haul buckets of hot water to all the animals to help warm them up and to keep their water pans from freezing over throughout the day.”

“When it snows, we always want to make sure the animals have access to shelter, whether that’s a shed in their field or a stall in the barn,” said Farmhand Becca Berglie. Typically, when it’s cold and wet, the farm staff provides straw for the pigs to keep them warm and hay in the shelters for the cows, sheep, goats and horses.

Depending on the ground, the temperature, and dampness, the horses may head inside to their stalls. Sometimes they get brushed and then dried with fluffy, absorbent blankets.

“Some animals love the snow!” Berglie said. “A few years ago, some of our cows were catching snowflakes on their tongues and running around in the field playing in the snow!”


Other animals are not big fans of snow, and they would rather stay warm in their shelter, like the chickens. The pigs love to play with new straw in their sheds, and they sleep close together to stay warm.

“Some of the best days are during snowstorms.” said Operations Manager Paul Nicholson. He remembers the blizzard of 2016, when Herndon got about 18 inches of snow in one weekend.

“Our neighborhoods were impassable by the time we finished with evening chores. [Eric and I] decided to stay overnight in the farmhouse. The neighbors across the street cooked us an amazing meal that I retrieved with the big John Deere tractor. We finally made it home the following night.”

On days when there are only a few inches of snow in the forecast, Frying Pan Farm Park usually stays open to the public. To learn the operating status of parks during weather events, check the Fairfax County Park Authority’s social media and web pages.

Author Lois Kirkpatrick is the Marketing Coordinator at Frying Pan Farm Park.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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