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Artisans featured at Heritage Farm

Spring Festival
May. 04, 2013 @ 09:56 PM

HUNTINGTON -- If the smell of bacon cooking in a cast-iron skillet didn't reel you in, the frontier trading post with furs, handmade soaps and quilts probably would.

Reddog Monroe, a member of the West Augusta Volunteers, said teaching people the way things were done hundreds of years ago appeals not only to his history buff side, but also to his love of working with the public.

"Cooking in a cast-iron pan just gives better flavor, and it's the way our ancestors have been doing it for hundreds of years," Monroe said. "I like teaching people about our history and making it entertaining as well."

Monroe joined hundreds of others at Saturday's 17th annual Spring Festival at Heritage Farm Museum and Village, 3300 Harvey Road, Huntington. This year's Spring Festival featured a new interactive bee exhibit, new steamboat exhibit and working craftsmen including a fiddle maker, seamstress, blacksmith and glass blower. While each of the farm's Way Back Weekend events focuses on a specific artisan, Audy Perry, son of farm founders Mike and Henriella Perry, said it was unusual to have all the artisans on-site together.

"Our Way Back Weekends focus on a different artisan each month, but this event is an opportunity to show them all off at the same time. That'll culminate, hopefully, in December when they're all back here to sell their wares in our holiday market," Perry said. "These artisans are incredibly talented, and it's a blast seeing all of them together."

Perry said he would like to see a day come when the artisans can earn a living doing what they love doing down on the farm.

"Most of these artisans have to work at other things outside of this," Perry said. "Wouldn't it be cool if, one day, they could earn their living working at their passion? I'd love to work toward that."

Saturday's event featured a nod to the farm's appearance on "American Pickers," giving visitors to the farm an opportunity to "pick" through some of the overstocked barns on the property.

Jim Hale is not an artisan, but did volunteer -- his first time doing so -- at Saturday's event. He was stationed at an early 1900s washing machine and offering an explanation of how the "appliance" used to work. Hale went to court in 2012 to have his slave ancestors in Wayne County declared free.

"I also volunteer at the Ironton History Museum," Hale said. "This is something fun to do, and it's a public service. It gives me an opportunity to give back."

The next event at Heritage Farm is a Hatfield and McCoy Tribute slated for Saturday, June 1. For more information, visit www.heritagefarmmuseum.com.

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.

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