Come on ‘Down Home’ for a day

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

by Lynda Updike

The Southampton Heritage Village and Agriculture & Forestry Museum is featuring its 13th annual family-oriented “Down Home Day — Ya’ll Come!” on Saturday, April 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is at 26135 Heritage Lane in Courtland. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for school age children and free admission for pre-schoolers. 

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. 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. Mattie the plastic cow will be present teaching young people that milk comes from cows; kids are free to “milk” her. Again this year we will feature a mule-handling demonstration by Blair Bunn and his mule, always a crowd-pleaser. Another feature is an old hog killing scene, photos only. A newly assembled unique old electric train display will operate during the afternoon.

The 1920’s sawmill will be sawing pine logs. While the restored grist mill is grinding meal throughout the afternoon, several ladies will be frying cornbread, made with some of the freshly ground meal, for visitors to sample. The grist mill has two mill stones from an earlier mill, 3 feet across, weighing 1,000 pounds each. Cornbread used to be an everyday staple. Now visitors can see how meal is made from corn. The late Edward Lee Johnson, owner and operator of Johnson’s grist mill near Sedley, designed and helped build this 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. A local blacksmithing guild will be exhibiting its skills in the Blacksmith Shop.

The dying art of sheep shearing will be demonstrated by Glenn Updike during the afternoon. A petting zoo of gentle local farm animals will feature goats, sheep, lambs, chickens, a pig, a rabbit and ducks for visitors of all ages to play with.

Hoyle Green’s miniature train will be around for rides around the grounds.

The Rebecca Vaughan House, which played a part in the Nat Turner Southampton Slave Insurrection of 1831, is located at the museum for visitors to see. Its exterior has been restored, with newly restored porches. Experts on the insurrection will be on hand to answer questions.

In addition to all the special activities, visitors are welcome to tour the Heritage Village and Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings, including a country store.