• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Fire doesn't shut down Boyd Orchards

SMOKE FROM A FIRE at Boyd Orchards Sept. 21 didn’t prevent Garrett and Kym Hatley and their 18-month-old son, Ethan, from visiting the next morning. (Photo by John McGary)

Last week’s fire that destroyed a barn and a pyramid made of straw bales kept Terry Boyd up most of the night – but didn’t prevent him from opening Boyd Orchards the next day. The fire was spotted about 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21. Terry and Susie Boyd were about to order dinner at a Mexican restaurant when an employee with a hay wagon full of sorority girls called him. The chips and salsa went untouched and the dinner unordered. Boyd said the fire apparently started near an air compressor in a corner of an old barn. The worker and a friend tried to douse it with buckets of water, and when that didn’t work, they pulled out what equipment they could. Crews from several area fire departments came to help, but by the time they arrived, the barn was too far gone, as was a straw pyramid a few hundred yards away sparked by drifting embers. Playground equipment near the pyramid, including 90 and 40-foot slides, was undamaged. Boyd said the barn fire claimed a forklift, tractors, 500 bales of straw, 25 big bales of straw, grading equipment, and equipment used to make cider. He said he believed the machinery was insured. “It’ll help some, but you know how insurance is. … I’m with Kentucky Farm Bureau; hopefully, those guys take care of it. They say they do, so we’re going to put ’em to the test,” Boyd said. “The fire guys stayed last night and sprayed it continually, all through the night …” Boyd said. “Those guys did a great job for us.” The fire happened just before the most important part of the year for Boyd Orchards, when six remaining festivals swell the average weekend attendance to between 8,000 and 12,000. “You couldn’t have choreographed it to happen at a worse time. … If it had happened in May or June or some time, you have all summer to fix and do and instead of 10,000 people a weekend, you have 100 …” Boyd said. The day after, with little sleep and no meal since lunch the previous day, Boyd focused on what was left: The playground, petting zoo, corn maze, tractors used for hay rides, the visitors center, and the 70 acres full of asparagus, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, apples, grapes, pears, pumpkins and squash. “All of that’s totally unaffected. Our pumpkins are perfect – nothing really was affected, except the straw bale pile,” Boyd said. “We hope the folks come out and continue to support us and there’s really no physical reason they shouldn’t. We just hope this doesn’t shy them away, because we need the business to be able to be here next year. Sounds like a pity party, but it’s just the truth.” By 10 the following morning, Boyd’s wish seemed to have been granted, with visitors already strolling past the giant chair and into the welcome center. Among them were Garrett and Kym Hatley, Indiana natives who live in Lexington, with 18-month-old son Ethan in a stroller. It was Ethan’s first visit to Boyd Orchards. They’d read about the fire on social media – and the fact that Boyd Orchards would be open for business pretty much as usual the following day. “I’ve never been out here for kid stuff. We’ve only come out for fruits and stuff, but I guess we’re going to check out their little play-yards area and petting zoo, eat at the café,” said Kym. They planned on bringing some produce home with them. “They have the best. We got apples from here last year and we had applesauce, and it was so good,” Kym said. Boyd Orchards’ Fall Festival this weekend is Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 7 p.m.

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