Heritage Day moves to the spring

Published 10:30 am Monday, April 29, 2024

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Heritage Day is making a move from September to May this year.

The 30th annual event will be held Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Courtland, sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society and the Southampton Heritage Village /Agriculture & Forestry Museum.

A museum news release noted that Heritage Day will be hosted at the museum and village, which are located at 26315 Heritage Lane in Courtland. 

There are separate admission rates at the museum for adults and for school-age children. Preschoolers are admitted for free.

To learn more about tickets, call Lynda Updike at 757-654-6785 or at updikes@earthlink.net.

“The event was regularly held in September but changed this year to try to avoid the heat,” Updike stated in the release.

She noted that this 30th annual Heritage Day promises to provide a wholesome and fun outing for the whole family.

“Visitors will see how the older generations lived, how hard they worked to make a living,” she said. “For the older generation, it’s a stroll down memory lane. Come and learn how they made the items in their homes and on the farm. Farming activities, by the way, included the whole family. We offer something for all ages to enjoy.”

The sawmill, planer mill, steam engine and grist mill will run intermittently during the day. Crafts people will demonstrate old crafts, with craft items for sale. 

Lunch will be for sale on the grounds — Steve Ivey’s famous barbecue, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, snacks, apple and sweet potato jacks, water and soft drinks. 

Many miniature trains will be running throughout the day inside the main building at the Ag Museum. 

Participate in an updated scavenger hunt to find designated items throughout the museum complex. Kids completing the hunt get a free bag of popcorn.

The Rebecca Vaughan House will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with John Quarstein answering questions about Nat Turner and the 1831 Southampton Slave Insurrection. 

Mahone’s Tavern, on Main Street, will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with many Confederate exhibits. 

Always a popular attraction, the museum’s grist mill will be grinding fine cornmeal, which will be available for a small donation. Samples of hot cornbread, made from that meal, will be given away throughout the day. 

Volunteers will demonstrate the old technique of typesetting on the museum’s printing presses, which include an 1885 Chandler & Price, treadle-operated, hand-fed press. Visitors can print a free bookmark bearing the museum’s logo. 

Old cars, tractors and gas engines will be on display. The blacksmith shop, too, will be open, with blacksmiths hard at work. 

Among the craftwork being demonstrated and for sale, visitors will find painted gourds, baskets, handmade jewelry, sewn and quilted items, goat milk soap, handmade wooden dough bowls and dulcimers, knitting, crocheting, as well as other types of needlework and woodwork.    Artisans from the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia will blend contemporary and traditional art through beadwork and pottery making.  

Some of the old crafts to see are butter churning, hominy, washboard washing of clothes, lye soap making and flint knapping. See a beekeeper with local honey for sale.

There will also be an assortment of old “Look,” “Time,” “Life” and other magazines from as far back as 1942. They will be available for purchase.

Music by “Shiloh Grass,” a local bluegrass band, will entertain during the day under the Howell Pavilion, dedicated to founding members William and Helen Howell. The little country church is always an attraction and will feature music by Drew and Judy Dunn and also Kay Weaver.    

Look for storytelling in the one-room schoolhouse and corn-cob pipe making near the corn crib. 

“Children of all ages will have a ball in a petting zoo featuring gentle pet farm animals, including baby goats and ducks,” Updike said. “Have you ever seen baby chicks pip their way out of eggs? They will be hatching on May 4th!”

There will be hay rides and face painting. Also, young folks can learn the art of milking a cow by practicing on “Mattie,” a replica cow. 

In addition to all the special activities, visitors are welcome to tour the Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings and Heritage Village, which includes a country store, one-room school, country dwelling, doctor’s office, smokehouse, old post office and two outhouses, among other buildings.

For more information, feel free to contact Updike at 757-654-6785, or at updikes@earthlink.net or at 33335 Statesville Road in Newsoms, VA 23874.