Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We Want to Bring Back the "Heritage" in Heritage Fest

Are you kiddin' me?

Was Ypsilanti's heritage represented by a measly three tents, including the beer guy?

Three tents?

Dusty D and sweetie paused on the path on the first encounter with this vestigial Heritage representation, and said aloud, "Is that all there is?"

A stranger passerby lady said, "I know--isn't it a shame? That's all there is!"

Dusty D got angry. Her Sweetie, oddly, got motivated (oddly since he's a computer guy whom I wouldn't have guessed would be angered by the pathetic showing of Heritage-type folk at Heritage Fest).

We decided we'd be the change we'd like to see in Heritage Fest.

Sweetie started writing a bunch of ideas down on paper. He planned a set of 19th-century games, including quoits, horseshoes, and the hoop-toss game "graces," that he'd run. Dusty D thought a demonstration of 19th-century clothes-washing in a wooden tub might be interesting. Things that people can touch and interact with. We sat up all night, writing down ideas. A display of the amount of wood you'd need to get through a winter. A stump in which to grind corn, as was done in settlement times. A butter churn. We already own a ton of cast iron items with which settlers would have cooked. We can contribute that.

It's time for the next generation of historical folks to step up and remind people of the "Heritage" portion of Heritage Fest.

Dusty D and sweetie have 12 months to get together a wooden washing machine, period clothes, and friends to help. Dusty D has already scoped out ebay for wooden washing machines and JoAnn Fabrics for canvas for our tent. I can sew it up myself on our 1920s sewing machine. Help us, please, dear readers, revive the Heritage portion of Heritage Fest!

Dusty D's sweetie described a past year's Heritage Fest when he stood on Cross St. Bridge and admired the soft kerosene lights glowing from afar, from the historical encampment far down in Riverside Park. Dusty D remembers the teepee guy with his teepee set up in the park.

It's time for the next generation of historical folks to step up and take the reins. Kind readers, will you please help us help expand the "historical" portion for next year's Heritage Fest?

--wooden washing machine
--kerosene lamps
--canvas for tent
--butter churn
--bonnet for Dusty Diary
--broad-brimmed hat for sweetie

Thank you for your kind attention to our effort to bring back the "heritage" in Heritage Fest!


James said...

The living history encampment was the big hit of the early festivlas. There were those who said the encampment was theonly thing they went to see. Then the number of those who camped in the park dropped for several reasons. One was a lie told about crime in the park, told to hurt the festival. Then, I was told, the living history people wanted the whole festival to be a reenactment, which was a bit much. For the festival to have heritage again, the local people must bring it back.

Duane Collicott said...

The Michigan LEGO Train Club used to display there, but haven't been hired again since a few years ago.

Fritz said...

I liked listening to the people who made things. Bows, harps, beer... It didn't matter what. There's a fun feeling to technologies that are still not too far out of the forest.

Lisele said...

Wow, that's too bad. What I'd like to do is copy some cherished lost locales in Ypsi. We could get local nurseries to donate potted plants and re-create the MCRR gardens. Then we could find a couple girls to run around in period dress selling bouquets. The proceeds could go to the historical archives.

Lisele said...

Fritz, I also loved listening to the bowyers and other craftspeople. This year, I was real involved with both the garden tour & home tour, so I really didn't make it down into the fest. So sad to hear there was so little in the way of re-enactors.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any of that stuff, but I'm happy to be there next year and physically help.

I also like the idea of showing how things are made. I went to the re-skilling festival in A2 and it was very cool. It also scared me how we lost these skills in one generation or so....

Dusty D said...

I love the words "re-skilling" and "bowyer"! Thanks Teacher P., I will definitely keep you in mind.

James, you hit the nail on the head. I realized I have to be the change I wish to see at HF instead of just whining. We're already making plans.

Dusty D said...

James: Just out of curiosity, who told that lie about crime in the park? Who and why?

Dusty D said...

Mr. C.: Hm, I'm sure the LEGO folks would be welcome there, like the robotic folks...very odd.

cmadler said...

I've been told by several Civil War reenactors who came to the Heritage Festival in the past that several years ago Ypsi announced that reenactors would be charged a fee, presumably to cover costs such as portapots (is the incremental use from people staying overnight that much?) and straw for bedding.

I wasn't here at the time, so it's just hearsay, but if that's still the case it would certainly explain why the living history encampment has gotten smaller and smaller each year.

Dusty D said...

cmadler: My jaw dropped. Charged a fee? I'll have to investigate that--if so, that is a b s o l u t e l y LUDICROUS.

There were, in fact, two Port-O-Potties near the historical area. But. There were at least **50** lined up next to the sin tent. I REALLY doubt that the maintenance of a couple more broke the HF bank. Silliest thing I've heard today! Thank you for the tip, cmadler; I'll check it out.

Ingrid said...

My son and I said the same thing; where's the heritage?

There was some cool stuff about the future, though. We really liked the green energy tent, David Strenski's talk about solar power, and the experiments at the Hands on Museum exhibit. Not quite keeping with the theme, but very informative.

Dusty D said...

Ingrid: Hm, interesting observation; there was a good bit there about the future, wasn't there? From robotics to green energy in the "green tent." I think that's in keeping with a "temporal" theme.

Thomas said...

Sign me up.

Dusty D said...

Hooray! Thomas, thank you! More details are coalescing as we speak; I will post 'em when things are charted out a bit more (and, suggestions are welcome in this group effort!)

Fritz said...

One thing I'd like to demonstrate is the use of flint and steel.

Fire starting is such a pain, people mostly kept a few coals going all the time. So I'm imagining the earliest settlers on the day they arrive, cold and tired, trying to start the first fire in their new home.