Holding a basket and dressed in her Colonial-era garb, Lynn Thompson smiled as she surveyed the crowd at the 22nd annual Colonial Times: A Day to Remember at the Living History Park on Saturday.
Thompson recalled a time more than 22 years ago when the park was an overgrown eyesore and the dream of a live event set in the Colonial era was just that – a dream. But on Saturday, with the bustling crowds attending, she could mark the progress of that dream, which continues to expand each year.
“It’s all about education,” said Thompson, who, with a team of faithful volunteers, has steadily developed the property with numerous buildings reflecting the time period and utilized the space by producing a multitude of events, with the fall A Day to Remember being the oldest.
On the Friday before the event, more than 1,000 children attended an educational event at Living History Park, she said.
Over the weekend, the park became a small village, with re-enactors of all ages showing life as it was in the 18th century.
“It was hard. If you had five kids, you were lucky to get two to their teenage years,” Thompson said.
Each year, craftsmen and women demonstrate tasks such as blacksmithing, woodcarving, cooking and sewing as it would have done it in the 18th century. The smell of the open campfire and the sounds of animals such as turkeys added to the ambiance of the costumed volunteers and performers, who sought to make the event as life-like as possible.
This year, event-goers could learn the labor-intensive, step-by-step process of turning the flax plant into fine linen as explained by Timothy the Irish linen-maker.
Also, Eric Scites from Faire Wynds Circus brought laughter to a large crowd with his acts of sleight of hand and fire-eating.
Tony Ateca, of Aiken, said attending the event was like going back into time.“It’s a great experience,” said Ateca, who brought his 7-year-old son Daniel, who is homeschooled.
Ateca said the trip augmented Daniel’s homeschool social studies’ curriculum.
“He did get to see George Washing-ton and Benjamin Franklin,” said Ateca, who added he also learned a few things from the trip. “The man playing Benjamin Franklin talked about how Franklin disowned his son, who had been made governor of New Jersey. He broke alliance with his son because he said he was loyal to the king.”
The next event at the park is the All Hallowed Eve Ghost Walk and Illusion Show on Saturday. To reserve tickets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803)-279-7560.