Celebrating springtime at the homestead
by Amanda Stegall
Apr 03, 2011 | 4409 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sandy Jusak weaves a shawl using a triangle loom Saturday at the Springtime at the Homestead event at Red Top Mountain State Park.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Red Top Mountain State Park seasonal naturalists and volunteers celebrated Springtime at the Homestead with a look into the past Saturday. Pioneer life will continue through today from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. when dancing begins at the Summey Casting Shed.

The Vaughan log cabin is festive with activity as volunteers weave chairs with cane, spin yarn and munch on chicken and dumplings and peach cobbler all cooked in the old-fashioned fireplace manner. The Red Top Porch Pickers gathered in a circle playing instruments common to the time period ranging from various types of dulcimers, a banjo, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica and accordion.

At the Summey Casting Shed, participants can make candles and see different toys of the era. "All of the toys are made of wood," said Dustin Baker, park intern, "so people had to be creative." Children gathered for games of Graces and Corn Hole as they entertained themselves in the fashion of their ancestors.

While mixing the wax for candles, volunteer Elizabeth Dempsey spoke to women about 1800s fashion. Vanity was a concern to the women of the age and Dempsey commented that cosmetic surgery was alive as women would have their bottom rib removed to decrease their waistline. Although that is drastic, Dempsey also stated that the people of the time "were just coming out of the Civil War and people had to be practical. Hoops disappeared, except for special occasions, and no one could afford the fabric and whale bone."

As a true re-enactment of the time frame several male volunteers wore Civil War soldier uniforms for their demonstrations of weaponry. Park Resource Manager Steve Hadley stated that black powder would be used during the rifle, musket and canon demonstrations while safety officers would be standing nearby.

Next to the Civil War soldier campsites a small group of women can be found weaving shawls on a triangle loom. Using an "over-under" technique, volunteer Sandy Jusak explained that the loom is easy to create and different triangles could be nailed together to form a larger loom for making blankets.

As the Homestead welcomed spring the rest of the park also thrived with life as enthusiasts could be found swimming, kayaking, fishing, hiking and taking advantage of the benefits of a calm day at Red Top.