Yesterland Farms Rebuilds, Reopens Following Powerful Canton Tornado

It's been nearly five months since deadly tornadoes devastated parts of Van Zandt County. The City of Canton, in particular, was hit hard and is still recovering today.

But Saturday, the community received a much needed and inspiring sign that things are getting better. YesterLand Farm, a popular destination that was caught in the path of a tornado, celebrated its grand reopening, keeping a beloved fall tradition alive.

"We just really enjoy being part of people's fall adventure," said Kama Bozeman, Owner of YesterLand Farm.

Each year the farm hosts a Fall Festival, complete with carnival rides, food, pumpkins, corn mazes, and more.

Bozeman and her husband have spent more than a decade building the farm from the ground up, adding several quirky buildings to the property and decorating it with all kinds of items from years gone by.

On April 29, they nearly lost it all.

"When life serves you lemons, you make lemonade," said Bozeman. "So that's what we've done. We saw it as an opportunity to reset."

A powerful EF-3 tornado touched down on the farm, badly damaging or destroying eight structures and leaving a mess behind that was unlike anything they'd seen before.

"[YesterLand Farm] is who we are," said Bozeman. "And to see it destroyed in a matter of minutes is difficult to take."

But any feelings of despair were short lived. Employees of the farm showed up the next morning ready to help the Bozemans start the clean up. And their Facebook page was flooded with comments from their longtime customers, asking what they could do so that the Fall Festival could continue.

"That was such motivation to get going again," said Bozeman.

So they rebuilt and repurposed, salvaging and reusing anything they could. They even created a brand new centerpiece at the farm called "Twister Town" -- it was their own way of turning their personal loss into something more joyful.

"I'm just so happy that they didn't give up and they dusted themselves off and just marched on," said Becky Swindall, who has worked at the farm for the last eight years. "You can't give up. You gotta get up and keep going."

Visitors to the farm Saturday were stunned by the turnaround.

"It doesn't look like it was affected at all," said Janet Thomas, who was there with her grandchildren. "They did a great job."

Bozeman herself can't believe how far they've come in just five months -- and says it's a real testament to the spirit of the community.

"I try not to use the word amazing because I try to save it for really big things," said Bozeman. "And it was amazing to me to see the goodness of so many people coming to help us. And now, we are back up and going, bigger and better than ever."

The Fall Festival runs every weekend between now and November 5. For ticket prices and schedules, visit the YesterLand Farm website.

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