Ag Museum draws biggest crowd ever for Heritage Day

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In the old blacksmith shop, Lesley Mosley demonstrates on the foundry how a Flesh fork is made. -- DON BRIDGERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

In the old blacksmith shop, Lesley Mosley demonstrates on the foundry how a Flesh fork is made. — DON BRIDGERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer

COURTLAND—The 20th annual Heritage Day drew the biggest crowd in its history Saturday, with more than 2,100 people attending the day-long event.

Ag Museum chairman Bill Vick said, “We’re overjoyed! This was a very special year and to have so many people come by to see what we’ve accumulated in these 20 years is wonderful.”

Vick said everything seemed to be bigger this year. Aside from the attendance, of course, there were more attractions, including craft booths, demonstrations and displays. The grounds were covered from one end to the other with such things as an antique auto and tractor display on one end to the grist mill on the other, where volunteers ground corn into meal for many onlookers, many of whom had no idea how this was done.

Another volunteer made and cooked cornbread while a long line of visitors waited to sample the fried treat.

Demonstrations of butter churning, lye soap making, cracklings and lard rendering, as well as hominy making were in full swing behind the main building, as volunteers manned the assortment of outbuildings nearby, from the blacksmith shop to the one-room school, where children could hear stories told by a former teacher.

Always a big hit with the children was the petting zoo, which this year featured baby chicks hatching and a three-week-old donkey named Helen, in addition to goats, sheep and more chickens.

More than 30 craft booths lined both sides of the machinery, forestry and equipment buildings. At the covered entertainment pavilion, the Shiloh Blue Grass Band kept visitors entertained during the afternoon.

“There was something for everyone,” Vick said. “In fact there was so much going on it was hard to take it all in.”

Vick said putting the event together takes a lot of time and effort and the museum depends on volunteers.

“But we have some of the best and we appreciate their help,” he said.

He gave much credit to the Courtland Police Chief and the Hunterdale Boy Scouts for doing such an excellent job with parking.

He added that Parker Battery also loaned two golf carts to help transport some of the visitors who had trouble walking, especially to and from the Museum of Southampton History and the Rebecca Vaughan House, which were also open.

“It was a perfect day,” he said. “Even the weather cooperated.”