The Fest and the Fun

The last time I reported from the Stroud Mansion, I wrote about “Dig and Donate,” since there were (and still are) many beautiful plants, healthy but crowded, in the Mansion Garden. Just between you and me, I heard the staff say they will do “D and D” again next spring.

The garden is an important part of the Stroud Mansion, and on September 2, it again became a great place for families to visit, learn about life in colonial times — when children lived in the Stroud Mansion — and have some “Olde Time Fun!” This report will tell you about my adventures at that event, which shared the day with StroudFest.

Being a brave and cheeky little mouse, I took off in the early morning to get to Court House Square, the center of StroudFest. For years, I have heard all kinds of music drifting down from the center of town on OTF day. Down Main Street I ran, staying close to the buildings and trying to blend in. There was a “ginormous” amount of tables with all kinds of things for sale — jewelry, drawings, pottery and FOOD. I could have curled up in one of the bowls! Among all these fascinating items were families with lots of children walking around and looking at everything. It was very exciting to a little mouse.

When I got to the square, there was a band playing! My curiosity kept me among the tables, children and food until my energy started to wane and I suddenly wanted to get back to the Mansion, where I knew things would be quieter. I wanted the children to come with me, but I must confess at that point I turned quite shy, and went on my way alone.
I had a wonderful surprise when I got back to the garden and to Olde Time Fun! Families were there as well, and children were busily engaged in the activities set up by MCHA volunteers. There were several families I recognized from other years. It was good to see them again.

What a lot to learn about colonial times! Since I’m little, I was able to stop at each activity and observe all the fun without being seen.
Hope Kuchinski, the MCHA’s new administrative assistant, was helping children learn how to do calligraphy. Hope is really nice and very helpful. She loves history, too! Calligraphy is fancy writing you know, and the children were using real dip pens with real ink, just like in the olden days.

Ms. Miller, the lady who knows everything about bees, set up beekeeping equipment. Children saw, touched, and tried on beekeeping equipment, but didn’t have to worry about being stung because the real bees were at home in their hive. Honey was an important food in olden times, just like it is today.

Two other activities had to do with the food of colonial times. One was planting the seeds of “the three sisters” — those are the three plants that the Indians taught the colonists to plant together. You’ll have to figure out what the plants are ... and next year if you come to Olde Time Fun, you’ll be able to plant your own seeds and take them home to grow!

The other food activity was about corn, both on the cob and off. (OK, I will tell you now that corn is one of the three sisters). The man that helped the children to explore corn had many fun games to do with the many ears of corn he brought. He even had some “corny” jokes!

Since sewing and weaving were important jobs to be done in a colonial home, another OTF activity had to do with textiles. Two other volunteers, Anda and Beverly, helped children comb wool (called carding) to ready it for spinning and weaving, and also showed them how to creating quilt designs using brightly colored paper shapes.

Finally, OTF visitors could see what it was like to do chores that children often did in colonial times. Ms. MacIntire and her daughter Sarah showed how to wash clothes using a washboard (and real water) and how to clean a rug by beating it with a special tool made or wire and wood. I was glad I was too small to do those chores.

It was an exciting day. That evening I went to bed early and slept through the night. It was a wonderful StroudFest/Olde Time Fun, 2017! I got to enjoy both celebrations. I can’t wait for next September. I hope to see you at the “Fest” and the “Fun”!

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