WARRENSBURG Hundreds attended the debut edition of the Warren County Rural Heritage Festival & Youth Fair on Saturday Aug. 11, an event that celebrated local history as it showcased the accomplishments of 4H youth.
The fair attracted all ages, with its displays and demonstrations of traditional skills, tools and crafts of bygone days, as well as the familiar youth fair talent show, horse show and youth produce and craft competitions.
The fair was a first-ever collaboration between the Warren County Historical Society and the 4-H program of Cornell Cooperative Extension.The day-long event featured a square dance, horseshoe competitions, 19th century games and story telling.
There were 4-H exhibits and displays by Cornell Cooperative Extension in the county fairgrounds beside and in the historic barns. Youth horsemanship was showcased in the riding arena.
Dozens enjoyed the savory chicken barbecue cooked up by local VFW members.
The county Historical Society enlisted participation by historical societies in Bolton, Johnsburg, and Warrensburg, as well as other groups and individuals.
Both old-timers and youth enjoyed watching the antique farm equipment in action, including including a hot-air powered water pump, an old-fashioned gas-powered wood splitter, log saws, and a washing machine from Tom Davis’s collection.
Flo and Todd Olden engaged spectators as they created linen from flax, while others were fascinated by the custom knifemaking and other creations by blacksmiths including Roy Balthazard.
Spinning, weaving, and knitting was demonstrated nearby by the Foothill Treadlers Spinning Guild of Fort Ann and Serendipity Spinners of Northern Warren County. Exhibits and demonstrations also involved quilting as well as crafting walking sticks and rustic picture frames.
Children learned the subtleties of fly-casting with hands-on lessons given by Rodney Priddle of the Fly fishers Federation.
Square and round dancing demonstrations were presented by several clubs in the region;
Exhibits also included presentations of new trends in agriculture, as well as the benefits of community gardens and farmers markets.
After the day concluded, Heritage Festival organizers said the event was successful for its first year, and they hope to increase its scope and attendance in upcoming years.