Affordable family fun near Donnelly

Rockin C Horse Farm Family Entertainment open every third weekend from May-October

Pony Rides at the Rockin C Horse Farm. Photo contributed.

Pony rides, farm animals, a flea market and displays depicting the lifestyles of yesteryear are among the attractions at the Rockin C Horse Farm Family Entertainment near Donnelly.

Rockin C is located just seven miles west of Donnelly (59312 150th Street) on the farm of Clay and Marlene Van Horn.

The Van Horn’s goal to offer a place for families that is affordable, fun and offers an opportunity to learn about the past. The Rockin C is open the third weekend of each month from May to October. Hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

When the couple married 15 years ago, they discovered a mutual passion for antiques and a love for animals. When a fire destroyed their farm home in 2010, taking with it the couple’s possessions and some antiques, they made a decision.

Antiques and unique collections on display. Photo by Jen Bergerson

“What’s the point of having all these things just for us?” Clay said. “We have got to share them.”

It sparked an idea for their farm entertainment venture.

The fun begins with pony rides showcasing the couple’s miniature horses. Clay has owned and worked with horses throughout his life and purchased his first registered miniatures around 2000. He has some of the top bloodlines, he said, including appaloosas.

Near the barn that houses the herd are a variety of farm animals for all to see, including chickens, turkeys, alpacas, fainting goats and rabbits.

Concessions are sold onsite, but the couple invites families to picnic under the trees. There is a large playground which is perfect for the kids to romp and run.

A flea market is also part of the activities. They ask anyone wanting to take part to contact them at 320-246-3455.

The Rockin C Horse Farm and Family Entertainment can also be reserved for groups, special occasions and birthday parties.

Marlene and Clay Van Horn with some of their western antique items at the Rockin C Horse Farm Family Entertainment. The farm is filled with unique items. Photo by Jen Bergerson

Close by is a “village” of buildings. Most were from other farms and either moved or rebuilt on the Rockin C including a two-seater outhouse that was built in the 1940s. Each building is staged with period pieces to give a glimpse of life in past decades.

While some of the furniture and pictures are family heirlooms, like the crib in the homestead house used by Marlene and her brother, others have been purchased by the couple. Many have a special story. For example, the couple purchased an organ from a couple in Sacred Heart. The 1901 piece had been a wedding present from the groom to the bride, Marlene said. It had been in the family for several generations before it was put up for sale.

Scene from the Rockin C Horse Farm Family Entertainment in Donnelly. Photos by Jen Bergerson

The blacksmith shop has the tools of the trade and the harness-making equipment used by the late Art Jorschumb of Wheaton. He was sought after for detailed and well-made miniature horse harnesses, Clay said.

Grandpa’s Toyland is a delight for children of all ages. Toy tractors, trucks and implements line the shelves. Clay has the entire Ertl 1/64th scale John Deere tractor line. He has an interest in the Ertl line since some of the models are based on Clay’s drawings.

Clay became friends with a man who did tool and dye work for a living. Using Clay’s drawings of equipment that had been used on the Van Horn farm, a toy drag was made, but its creator said he’d never make another. Each one of the teeth was individually soldered.

When Clay brought him a picture of a seeder, he made its metal miniature.

The man’s work was sold to Ertl, which now makes the implement designs in plastic.

Clay honors his late son, Curtis, through the toy displays. His son would often stop at the building and move a single piece then call Clay asking if he’d figured out what had been moved. Curtis was 24 when he was killed in a 2006 train-car accident in Donnelly.

Some of the animals at the Rockin C Horse Farm, in Donnelly. Photos by Jen Bergerson

The family, working with the Morris Area FFA, brought part of the farm toy display to the Stevens County Fair to raise donations for a scholarship in Curtis’ name. Through this effort, each year a Morris Area High School FFA student planning an ag career is awarded a $500 Curtis Van Horn Scholarship.

A schoolhouse building has some of the items Clay used while attending country school in his youth. The boutique has bolts of fabric, a dress form and fabric measurer used in department stores.

One building has Clay’s mother and stepfather’s collection of collector whiskey bottles. No, they didn’t drink, he said, but the whiskey bottles are special. Each is crafted in the likeness of western notables like Wyatt Earp and Jesse James.

A walk through the grounds reveals many treasures, such as farm machinery used through the decades including a walk-behind plow. Each time visitors come they discover more interesting treasures.

For more information on the Rockin C, check out the website at or find them on Facebook at Rockin C Family Entertainment. To contact the Van Horns, call 320-246-3455.

#Donnelly #FamilyFun #RockinC

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