Area families enjoy pioneer festival

Thursday, October 2, 2008
The 4th Missouri Infantry CSA performed several Civil War re-enactments during the Ozarks Pioneer Festival that was held at HIS Children's Camp in Ridgley on Sept. 27 and 28. Re-enactment group members also held demonstrations and taught pioneer skills during the two-day festival, which raised over $2,000 for the local camp. Democrat Photo

Over 500 children and adults participated in the first annual Ozarks Pioneer Festival held at HIS Children's Camp in Ridgley on Sept. 27 and 28. The event raised around $2,000 for the camp.

"The event turned out fantastic considering we had three weeks to bring everything together," said Earl Adams, HIS Children's Camp board member. "I really enjoyed the music and the participation of all of the people in the different crafts.

"The people who came out really seemed to have fun," said Adams. "I think that is what I enjoyed the most."

On Saturday, families participated in hands-on activities, like candlemaking, spinning and quilting, and watched other pioneer skill demonstrations. The event also included harvest games, an animal barnyard and Civil War re-enactments.

"It all turned out really well," said Cheryl Franklin, event organizer. "We received a lot of compliments about how fun it was and most people were impressed that the event was so much geared toward children.

"A lot of families spent time doing the activities," said Franklin. "They really liked the historical aspect of the event with the costumes and Civil War camp."

Children who attended the event made clay marbles with leather pouches, cornhusk dolls and other items that they were allowed to take home with them. They also had an opportunity to grind wheat and make their own bread during the event.

"We tried to teach the kids what they were doing and how these skills were used in the past," said Franklin. "The kids really liked the breadmaking, and the adults seemed to enjoy the quill writing.

"The cornhusk dolls took a lot of patience," said Franklin. "I was surprised by some of the younger kids who persevered through the lessons."

The second day of the festival was opened with a 19th Century church service, which was attended by around 25 community members.

"The church service was an exceptional event," said Adams. "The service was led by one of the soldiers. It was very, very special."

Attendees also participated in old-fashioned games and contests, wagon rides, a tea party and other activities throughout the day.

"Sunday was more laid back," said Franklin. "Families were able to start projects and keep going throughout the day. The kids had more time to do the things they wanted to. A lot of families spent the whole day at the festival on Sunday."

The Ozarks Pioneer Festival also gave community members an opportunity to see the facilities and activities available at HIS Children's Camp, said Franklin.

"The event gave the camp a lot of exposure," said Franklin. "The people who came out were glad to see the camp. Many of them said that they had been wondering how they could help. A lot of contacts were made."

The HIS Children's Camp Board of Trustees plans to begin preparing for the second annual Ozarks Pioneer Festival in January of 2009.

"Funds raised at the event will help sustain the camp financially and meet any needs we have at the camp," said Adams. "We would really like to make this festival our major fundraiser each year."

Individuals interested in helping with next year's event should call Adams at 417-671-1616, Franklin at 417-629-8901 or the HIS Children's Camp office at 417-652-3351.

"We really appreciate everybody who helped out with this year's event," said Franklin.

Civil War re-enactments, camps and demonstrations were performed and led by the 4th Missouri Infantry CSA re-enactment group.

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