Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bonneyville Mill Heritage Day

It was Bonneyville Mill Heritage Day on Saturday! This is a slightly new format from what we have seen in previous years, with a shorter time frame, new name, and slightly different focus. We've been going to the celebration for the last several years, even before we lived in the area. It can be a great time to visit with family, grab a few treats, enjoy activities and music, and explore the outdoors. True to form for the last several days, it was a chilly morning, warming up later in the day. We appreciate the effort of Elkhart County Parks and numerous volunteers in putting this together!

We stopped in the one room school house first as my nephew was volunteering there as a Junior Indiana Master Naturalist. There was tin punching, a scarecrow craft, and the one-room school house was open for business. I flipped through the Reader and promptly found entries on bats! Nature is in the house! The one room school house, that is. It sounds like a fun field trip for children to see and experience what a field trip might have been like at one point in history.

We also stopped by the many engines, machines, and old fashioned cars. There were fire trucks, classic cars, a saw mill, tractors, and more. It was pretty steamy and loud in this section, yet the boys (and many others) were enjoying figuring out how they all worked.

Later, we visited the store (I love checking out the clearance bins), the mill, and oxen, and various vendors. There were baked goods, wooden products, and produce for sale. There were plenty of options and reasonable prices. We opted on the maple sugar candies. We need to try making these ourselves this year. The vendor said to heat the syrup to 245 degrees, wait as it begins to crystalize (keep stirring), and then pour into molds. These are delicious! We've known the oxen since they were young. My brother helps with them every once in a while and they stay in his fields. It was neat to see how they've grown, visit with our neighbor, and look at the many yokes they've used as they have matured. Another vendor was selling her Ellie May's Goat Milk Soap

We enjoyed the festive atmosphere! There was a scarecrow contest, various displays, and decorations up for the special day. In addition, there were a singing group, pancake breakfast, and several children's competitions and horse pulls. We also grabbed some kettle corn while we could. The event was fun, yet we missed some of the children's activities, such as the pioneer games and rope bridge as well as many of the demonstrators. We enjoyed the addition of the medicinal plant and archaeology walk, yet I'll save that for another post.