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HUNTINGTON — While the early spring months at Heritage Farm Museum and Village are dedicated to hosting school tours, opening young minds to the state’s pioneer legacy, the first weekend in May is when the venue opens to the general public for the summer with its annual Spring Festival.

Located at 3300 Harvey Road in Huntington, Heritage Farm Museum and Village, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, has evolved over the years. While it will always represent life in Appalachia in the 1800s, the venue now features modern-day excitement as well, like 1,000-foot zip lines, aerial rope climbing courses, UTV rides, a rock wall for climbing and the new Mountain Rim Bike Park.

Throughout the year, various master crafters and artisans show up at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village to demonstrate and teach the old ways of mountain living. At the Spring Festival this Saturday, those folks will be on hand and the petting zoo will have just-born baby critters for everyone to meet.

Audy Perry always knew he would run the Heritage Farm Museum and Village one day. Founded by his parents, Mike and Henriella Perry, Audy broke away to become a lawyer in Huntington, but is now thrilled to be running the venue, which has expanded and blossomed under his care.

“This park has always been my first love,” said Perry. “I always knew I would take it over. But when my dad died in 2015, it happened a little quicker than we imagined. But I love to teach kids about Appalachia while sharing animals and adventure at this park, helping them to understand that we come from amazing people.

“As we talk, I am sitting here retrieving a minnow trap from the creek where we catch minnows that we will feed to the West Virginia native reptiles and amphibians and the small-mouth bass that we have on display in the big tank. As for the petting zoo, we now have all kinds of new babies here. We have baby goats and baby chicks and baby ducks, and we have new alpacas as well.”

While the Adventure Park side of the Heritage Farm Museum and Village doesn’t open until Memorial Day weekend, Perry is excited about the addition of a new mountain bike park. Heritage Farm will provide a six-seat UTV that will carry both the bikers and their rides up the hill so they are ready for downhill fun.

“In addition, we just put in a toddler pump track that will be open in time for the Spring Festival this weekend,” said Perry. “It is made up of little balance bikes for little boys and girls that are 4 years old and under. These bikes don’t require pedals but instead they can go around a little NASCAR track while just pumping it up and down. Hopefully this will encourage them to take up mountain biking in the future.”

As for the older visitors who come to the Heritage Farm Museum and Village this weekend, it will be like walking back in time.

“At this year’s Spring Festival, we will feature blacksmiths, a 19th century bread oven, an old-school sawmill, the shingle mill, a sheep-shearing demonstration at 11 a.m., glass blowing, wagon rides and all kinds of Appalachian artisanship from the olden days,” said Perry. “In fact, when Pilgrim Glass went out of business, we got all of their glass furnaces. But then we donated all but one of them to Blenko Glass in Milton so they could keep making their wonderful hand-made glassware. At the Spring Festival, we invite our visitors to experience the past and to appreciate today and to try and help them dream of the future.”

Perry believes that learning about the Mountain State’s past is essential to moving forward.

“If you are a West Virginia native or your kin is from Appalachia, we believe somebody in your family was amazing,” said Perry. “They built their own homes and they grew their own food. They made their own clothing, and they were able to protect their family from everything that came against them, or else you and I wouldn’t be here today. The challenges that our ancestors overcame should inspire us to not look down upon what we need to overcome now, but instead we should look at our troubles as a mere bump in the road. I mean, man; we do face some challenges today, but it is nothing like what your Appalachian family already overcame.”

There will be food available for purchase onsite at the Spring Festival, and the Stony Point String Band will perform on the big stage at 1 p.m.

For ticket prices and more information, go to heritagefarmmuseum.com, facebook.com/HeritageFarmWV or call 304-522-1244.

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