Settlers’ Day

at Kawartha Settlers’ Village, Bobcaygeon
Judi “Scoop” McWilliams
After visiting the Kawartha Settlers’ Village this past winder, we were excited to travel to Bobcaygeon on this warm sunny spring day to their “Settlers’ Day” celebrations.
The Village seemed different today, as vintage cars and truck lined the pathway to the entrance gates. We realized the Village was alive with people, music and activities.

Our first stop was to listen to the saxophone soloist, who was entertaining visitors from the front porch of the Henderson House. From here, we decided to follow the Village map outlining the day’s events.

We had anticipated that the Village would depict the historical era of Pioneer Settlers, but what we actually were about to experience was a combination of heritage buildings, displays, demonstrations and activities with antique cars, trucks and various automobiles intertwined amongst the Village buildings and landscape.

As we explored the Village further we realized that the classic cars were strategically placed amongst the Kawartha Settlers’ Village grounds. This combination seemed to be a perfect “fit”.

We wandered over to a “World War I On The Move” exhibit, presented by the Victoria County Historical Society and the Great War Flying Museum. This unique display offered visitors an opportunity to recognize the contributions of our veterans and current armed forces. It also provides education about Canada’s role in WWI. A nurse’s uniform was displayed with other artifacts which took you back in time.

Across the laneway was a “spoons playing” demonstration in the Murphy Barn. Toys were being displayed and the woodcarver today welcomed visitors to join in the fun by playing the spoons with him. Tatting and Lack Making demonstrations allowed visitors to see the “real deal” and the intricate and delicate craft this is.

Intricate nature crafts by the “Twig Man” offered visitors the opportunity to see creations of twigs made into sculptures and outdoor accessories.

Just across the laneway, the Drive Shed gave us a chance to see how wool and fabric was dyed with “days gone by “colours made with natural products such as yellow dandelions.  Here we met up with an old acquaintance, Michael Gillespie and his wife and their group from Quinte Time Keepers.

We talked about how some clocks seemed to stop working when their owner’s passed away. Michael had heard of this phenomenon before, but had never met anyone who had experienced it.

He did not know why this would occur, but he did remember an old vintage song that spoke the words about this phenomenon … “the clock, stopped, never to go again when the old man died”.

I could hear the tune in my mind, as I’m sure my grandparents sang this song. It was a good thing we had “time” on our hands so that we could keep wandering through the Village on this special Settlers’ Day.

At the school house you could learn how to knit or the art of papermaking. One of my favorite exhibits today was in the Fairburn Church where period wedding displays with dress displayed wedding dresses all along the pews of the church isles.

The sun shone brightly through the windows from both sides of the tiny church. The wedding vintage dresses were vibrant and every detail could be seen, from fine lace to intricate stitchery.

What made the display even more interesting was that at each pew and wedding dress display, a photo collage showed the bridge and/or couple wearing that garment so many years ago on their special day.

Some photo collages had other items such as gloves, handkerchiefs, trinkets of the days gone by. As we left the church we were greeted by full white blossoms from bushes with a fresh fragrance in the air.

Over at the Wray House weaving, spinning, and felting demonstrations were taking place.

The Kawartha Settlers’ Village had a great entertainment schedule for the day, so we did not miss out on any activities.

We were even able to take a break in comfortable lawn chairs under a shady tree to watch the energetic Caygeon Cloggers clogged” their hearts out on the porch of the Henderson House.

Children’s Old Fashion Games were going on throughout the day, including old fashion egg spoon races, wheel barrel races, potatoes sack races, marble games, tiddlywinks, pick up sticks and more. These are all my favorite childhood games.

Our day was drawing to a close and we decided to take a wagon ride by two beautiful soft beige majestic horses. George Harrison was generous when he allowed Gary to take a seat beside him so we could capture a view on scenic video of the Village.

As we journeyed around Settlers’ Day, we experienced at a glance the essence of this magnificent facility, the heritage Village and Settlers’ Day.

The antique cars and truck shone brightly with pride, period vintage re-enactor strolled throughout the Village, young children ran and played, seniors and families strolled along the laneways together, and the gardens, blooms and fresh fragrance filled the air along with the occasional waffle smell of campfire.

This is an event not to be missed. Mark your calendars for the next Settlers’ Day.

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