A Revolutionary Thank You

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Off To A Good Start

We want to thank all of the guests who supported “Revolutionary Evenings” this year.  Of the six shows we performed, we had a few full houses, and overall, we achieved  50% of our capacity, which is very good for a first year dinner theater effort around here.  In the early years of “Sleepy Hollow,” (now decades ago), it was difficult filling the house for a few nights, but when you keep plugging away, the word gets out and this year, I’m fairly sure we will sell out 21 performances. Thanks to you first-timers, we stand a pretty good chance of hitting 100% on Revolutionary Evenings next year.

Our goal is to become a year round living history admission farm, where different shows, and different eras–featuring both indoor and outdoor performances–fill up the entire calendar.  There is a twist, of course: what other theater lets you pick a few apples during the performance?  You can’t even do that on Broadway or in Vegas.  (So take that Cirque Du Soleil.)

We are rapidly finding out that you value us as a “planned” and “buy ahead” destination, with the possible exception of the fall Harvest crowd, which is largely walk-on public.  I believe the troubled history of restaurants in Oak Glen bears this out a bit.   Up here, the pure food service business is feast or famine.  During the “feast” periods, our Hawk’s Head Tavern had a two hour waiting list, but we still had empty tables because families might be a half mile away, in a distant orchard, when their name came up.   On a Thursday in late July, however, you might have the whole tavern to yourself.

We’re going to be changing our structure over the next year and likely moving to a 100% admission model, with a broad selection of programs and prices, from $5 to $500, depending on the season, the length of stay, and the offering.   We have a core staff that is family to us, and we need to make sure we can not only offer them hours, but a future as well.  As one old timer up here observed several years ago:  “It used to be, up here in Oak Glen, that people would ask me: ‘What can we buy?’  Now they ask me: ‘What can we do?'”

We need to begin honoring that reality.  During this recession, even huge attractions around the country are beginning to see declining attendance, and that’s all the more reason to make sure we offer you fun, life-affirming, patriotic living-history challenges for normal, America-loving people.  I’m writing up a voluminous memo on the subject for those of you who want to weigh in.  Send us a line at info@rileysfarm.com.

Thanks again!  See you soon!   (All we ask is that you tell 5,000 of your closest friends about us)



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This post was written by Jim Riley


  • Victoria says:

    I would like to not have to pay admission to just come there and eat lunch, take some pies home, and enjoy the scenery. From someone who loves the farm.

    • Jim Riley says:

      We’re delighted you like stopping by and enjoying the scenery and the food. We aren’t trying to make the farm an expensive destination. We’re wrestling with how to keep it open and maintained (very expensive) in an area where people are less likely to make the spontaneous “drop in” visit. We’ve been talking to other business owners in “destination areas” and the traffic is WAY down all over. In our case, the dinner theater and field trips (admission programs) are way up, so we have to make adjustments. It will probably happen slowly, if it does happen. Thanks again for weighing in.

  • C says:

    One thing I would love to buy ahead would be parking! I love being able to stop by and pick apples, pick up a pie, and the colonial fair, but with a 2 hour drive sometimes the thought of not being able to park makes us think twice about making the trek. You guys have great food and it is such a great space my family would spend more time driving there if we knew we could park.

  • Josephine Wade says:

    What does “normal, America-loving people” mean? I’m confused.

    • Jim Riley says:

      In our case, it just means people who love American history, who believe in the American experiment, that our country’s contributions have been generally good, and not sinister. The 1619 project, for example, asserts that America was built on white supremacy. There’s simply no way to serve, or cheer up, people who are that dumb. Like I say, “normal, America loving people.” That’s what we’re after.

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