A ‘down home’ calm before the storm

Published 7:20 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

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Stormy weather held off long enough on Saturday, April 22, to allow the Southampton Heritage Village and Agriculture & Forestry Museum to host its Down Home Day event for a majority of the planned run time, drawing many locals and also people from outside the area.

Lynda T. Updike, who helped organize the event, said Down Home Day was born years ago out of a brainstorm of Helen Howell.

“The idea was to showcase the museum and promote activities for children of all ages,” Updike said. “For some it was a stroll down memory lane. For youngsters it was an opportunity to see how their grandparents made a living on the farm. Farming involves participation for the whole family.”

Saturday’s event involved participation from what Updike said “seemed to be a higher percentage of locals than usual, but there were many there that were not locals.”

She noted that overall attendance numbers were down for the event, “not only because of predicted storms and an isolated tornado but so many other events going on as well. We had a little less than 200 paying visitors. That did not include the many preschoolers who were free, nor at least 50 volunteers who assured that the event ran smoothly.”

Updike ran the petting zoo, which was popular among children, as usual, and featured several different animals, including guinea pigs and ducklings.

“When we heard thunder and it started to rain, I began to load up my animals so they would not get wet,” Updike said. “I think it was about 2 p.m. Then on the way home, it rained so hard I could not see to drive.”

Down Home Day was scheduled to run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Among the attractions at the event was a restored grist mill grinding meal. Several ladies fried cornbread that was made with some of the freshly ground meal, and visitors were able to sample it.

“From what I observed, the cornbread, as usual, was a big hit, and enjoyed by many,” Updike said. “Our grandson brought us some in the petting zoo, and was it ever delicious.”