The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Union County

June 11, 2014

Rural Heritage Day 2014

— LEWISBURG — The Union County Historical Society will host the 11th Annual Rural Heritage Day on Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dale/Engle/Walker property, 1471 Strawbridge Road, just west of Lewisburg. This is the first year that all events will take place on Saturday: children’s activities and games, antique machinery displays, as well as demonstrations of rural skills and tasks of our forefathers and mothers in Central PA.

While many demonstrations this year will be familiar to regular visitors, there will be new activities to experience. David Witmer will explain and show the making of a wooden hay rake. Liz Rhode will demonstrate how her antique knitting machine makes socks. Scott Baylor will fashion vessels from tin right before our eyes. Brad Mertz will show how wooden wheels were made and repaired in the past.

Traditional Windsor chairs and their manufacture will be explained by expert furniture maker David Morris. And William Hill will begin with a freshly cut white oak log, and through a series of energetic steps, fashion a basket or two by the end of the day.

New demonstrators Elaina Hoffman, American Honey Princess, will describe the history of bee keeping, and Gail Moser will demonstrate quilting.

The Buffalo Valley Antique Machinery folks will again participate in Rural Heritage Day, as well as other past favorites, such as stone mason Mihai Epure, blacksmith Bill Clemens and chair caners John and Viola Pfleegor. Multifaceted Nada Gray will be there, this time as the Fraktur Teacher, offering insight into traditional designs found in PA German artwork.

The Rural Heritage Day Committee has wanted to establish an Apprentice Program for youth (or young-at-heart) to learn, perhaps master, a craft so that they too might demonstrate and create their own hand-crafted items. Holding Rural Heritage Day in mid-July will better enable school-aged youngsters to participate. Not only will apprentices learn to produce a craft, they will learn its history, and the planning and organizational skills needed to produce their product. They will come to appreciate the efforts and devotion of our ancestors and how their early products formed the foundations for modern products that ease our lives today. Additionally, demonstrating their new skills will help apprentices  cultivate self-confidence and the ability to speak to a crowd.

Children will be particularly interested in creating their own Fraktur artwork, making a corn husk doll, playing individual and group games and taking saddle and cart pony rides. Making lucet cord, participating in making a rope, petting farm animals and harvesting potatoes are popular activities for young people.

Local architect Ted Strosser will lead tours of the historic house at 12:15, 1:45, 3:45 and 5:15, discussing the exterior features and history of the house. Groups will then enter the basement hearth for the conclusion of their tours and a peek at what’s cooking.

Music will fill the air: “Dale’s Ridge Ramblers” will sing and strum old-time country music at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Later, at 2 p.m., “Any Jig Will Do” performs Celtic music featuring guitar, flute and hammered dulcimer, and “Joyful Noise” will be playing old hymns on their mountain (lap) dulcimers, beginning at 4 p.m.

Food stands will offer hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken barbecue, as well as everyone’s favorite dessert — home-made ice cream. Admission, as in the past, will be $5 per vehicle.

Contact the historical society at (570) 524-8666 or info@unioncountyhistoricalsociety.org for more information.

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