Down Home Day set for April 17

Published 10:05 am Monday, April 5, 2010

COURTLAND—The Southampton Heritage Village and Agriculture & Forestry Museum will sponsor its sixth annual family-oriented “Down Home Day — Y’all Come!” from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 17.

The museum is at 26135 Heritage Lane in Courtland. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for school-age children.

“Just like the good ole days ‘down home,’ the fun activities planned for the afternoon include something for all members of the family, offering a chance to step back in time for a few hours and enjoy life at a slower pace,” said organizer Lynda Updike. “Visitors are welcome to sit, relax and enjoy the afternoon’s happenings.”

Activities include music by well-known local musicians Jimmy Ricks and his “Shiloh Grass” bluegrass band.

The 1920s sawmill will be sawing pine logs at the beginning of the afternoon and again later in the day.

“While the restored grist mill is grinding meal throughout the afternoon, several ladies will be frying corn bread, made with some of the freshly ground meal, for visitors to sample.” Updike said.

The grist mill has two mill stones from an earlier mill, 3 feet across, weighing 1,000 pounds each.

“Corn bread used to be an everyday staple.” Updike said. “Now visitors can see how meal is made from corn.”

The late Edward Lee Johnson, retired owner and operator of Johnson’s grist mill near Sedley, designed and helped build the mill.

Two very old restored printing presses, operated by Bill Billings and Jimmy Creasey, along with several apprentices, will be working as well. Young visitors can make a “hands on” bookmark bearing the museum’s logo.

Again this year, the art of sheep shearing will be demonstrated several times during the afternoon.

A petting zoo of gentle local farm animals will feature goats, lambs, a baby donkey, and a pet rooster for visitors to play with.

The Rebecca Vaughan House, which played a part in Nat Turner’s Southampton Slave Insurrection of 1831, is located at the museum for visitors to see. It is awaiting further restoration.

“There will be antique cars and tractors to see,” Updike said. “If you get hungry, hot dogs, snacks and soft drinks will be available for sale.”

Visitors also are welcome to tour the Heritage Village and Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings, which include a country store, one-room school, country dwelling, doctor’s office, old post office, two outhouses, and a recently acquired old kitchen.