Pioneer festival to be held at HIS Children's Camp in Ridgley

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Barry County residents are invited to attend the first annual Ozarks Pioneer Festival, which will be held at HIS Children's Camp in Ridgley from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 27 and 28.

The festival will feature candlemaking, blacksmithing, spinning, quilting and dutch oven cooking demonstrations. The event will also include harvest games, an animal barnyard, a craft sale, period music and Civil War encampments.

"On Saturday, we will have stations where kids can make clay marbles, leather pouches, cornhusk dolls and other things," said Cheryl Franklin, who has organized the festival. "Children will also be able to grind wheat and make their own bread."

Other activities will include corn grinding, quail feather writing, pottery and embroidery, which will give participants an opportunity to create alphabetic and numeric sampler scrolls.

"At some of the stations the kids will make things that they will be able to take home," said Franklin. "Other stations will be for demonstrations only. For instance, we will actually bake the bread that the kids make so if they want to stay and get their bread they can."

Festival attendees will have an opportunity to participate in wagon rides, and the 4th Missouri Infantry Confederate soldiers camping on the festival grounds will perform drills and re-enactments at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday.

"On Sunday, we will start the day with a 19th Century church service," said Franklin. "That will be followed by a variety of old-fashioned games and contests, like a greased pig contest, corn shucking and skillet throwing. This will be a great family day."

A pie eating contest will begin at 1 p.m., and a 19th Century tea party will be held at 2 p.m.

"The Sunday tea will be oriented toward children," said Franklin. "They will learn etiquette. Adults will be required to pay extra to attend the tea party, but it is free for the kids."

Admission to the Ozarks Pioneer Festival will be $5 per person. Children under the age of 6 will be admitted for free. The admission fee includes two tickets for hands-on activities. Additional activity tickets will cost $3 each.

Barbecue meals will be available for purchase on Saturday and Sunday. Jim Fohn will be providing the meat for Saturday's barbecue. Adults will be charged $6 or two tickets for the meal. Children will be able to eat for $3 or one ticket.

Adults will also be required to use tickets to participate in the wagon rides and some of the other festival activities.

"This is a fundraiser for the camp," said Franklin. "All proceeds from the event will benefit the camp. All of the individuals involved have volunteered to participate. I have a heart for the camp, and I have done this type of historic events for many years. "

Franklin has participated in Civil War re-enactments for over 15 years. Over the last few years, she has been able to share her love of history with others through a pioneer day program that she offers at area schools.

The Civil War re-enactment participants who will be camping in Ridgley will travel from across southwest Missouri and Oklahoma to participate in the event.

"This event will offer something for everybody," said Franklin. "We will have a lot of things that will appeal to both children and many adults. It will help them appreciate some of the conveniences that we have and allow them to connect to their Ozark heritage."

Each Ozarks Pioneer Festival attendee will be entered into a drawing for a variety of door prizes.

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