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Heritage Farm hosts summer festival, ice cream social


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Hundreds visited Heritage Farm Museum & Village in Huntington on Saturday for the fifth annual Summer Festival and Homemade Ice Cream Social.

“This is a wonderful event,” said Tina Badgett, of Grayson, Kentucky. “I have attended it before, so this year I wanted to bring my father and a few friends.”

Badgett’s father, Jerry Burton, said he came to see the museum, while her friends, Raymond Collins and Karen Hodgkins, came to see the various artisans and get some homemade ice cream.

Abagail Rock, 12, of Milton, tries to land the hatchet on the card during the Summer Festival Saturday at Heritage Farm Museum & Village in Huntington. The instructor directed participants to toss a small axe and land it in a nearby stump.
(Photo by Ryan Fischer)

“The homemade vanilla ice cream is the best,” Hodgkins said. “It’s definitely my favorite thing about this festival.”

Audy Perry, the farm’s executive director, said the event allows visitors to take a step back in time, while celebrating the country’s birthday.

“Our celebration includes the old-fashioned ice cream social that features handmade ice cream,” Perry said. “There is also some square dancing, folk dancing and all our artisans are here as well.”

Artisans attending the festival included an old-fashioned bread maker, basket weaver, broom maker, blacksmith, sawmill workers, woodworkers and potters as well as craftsmen working the shingle and grist mills.

“We are also having a special reading by our print makers explaining about the real Declaration of Independence,” Perry explained. “The document we see today is not what was signed on July 4, 1776. Printing was much different back then, and that document took a long time to create. We have Ben Franklin and Patrick Henry discussing Thomas Jefferson’s hand-written document that was actually presented for the Founding Fathers to sign.”

Stony Point String Band, a locally based traditional Appalachian string band, provided music.

Tina Roberts, of Huntington, said she loves coming to Heritage Farm to see all the animals.

“They have lots of animals you don’t see in this region,” she said. “It’s really cool to be able to see them up close.”

A recent addition to Heritage Farm is Marco, an American bison, visitors saw on the farm’s wagon ride. The petting zoo was also open and featured a variety of animals, including week-old chicks, to visit.

While the daytime festival did not set off fireworks, the festival featured a “How Fire Works” demonstration, where a handcrafted cannon was fired.

“Everyone wants fireworks, so we decided to show visitors how fire works by shooting off the cannon,” Perry said.

Perry says the goal is to inspire Appalachians – and those outside of Appalachia – by sharing stories of the past.

“Our goal is to allow the story of our bold and creative past to encourage our culture to invent itself again,” Perry said.

Among its more than 30 structures, many of which were open to festivalgoers, are working mills, a coal-burning blacksmith’s shop, a historical log church and the Frontier Cabin, which was used as a set for the History Channel’s “Hatfields & McCoys” documentary.

For those unable to attend the festival, the farm hosts Way Back Weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday from May to December, featuring many of the same attractions found at the Summer Festival and a different theme every month, Perry added.

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