BY PAT FARNELLI
Old Mill Village marked its fiftieth anniversary last weekend with a Fall Festival that included demonstrations, hayrides, a magician, a scavenger hunt, and scarecrow display.
State Rep. Sandra J. Major, R-Bridgewater Twp., was on hand Saturday afternoon to present a citation recognizing the historical village and museum for its longevity and quality of service.
Sens. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Twp., and Gene Yaw, R-Williamsport, also sent citations.
John and Dixie Russell were demonstrating the design and manufacture of leather clothing. Both wore head to toe outfits that had been hand sewn by John using a figure eight stitch, which featured fox hide decorations and deer antler buttons.
“We’re born and raised in Hallstead,” said Dixie, who is the author of a book, “Great Bend/Hallstead: Then and Now.” She was doing a hands on cloth dollmaking workshop for children, who were pleased to take home a creation.
Blacksmith Tim Button was busy at the forge in the old dairy barn.
Carol Carpenetti was demonstrating candle making, and Wayne Frederici was providing hayrides, using Gary Darrow’s antique tractor and hay wagon.
Jeremy Biesecker performed old fashioned magic tricks in the Grove School, a one-room schoolhouse on the premises that was built in 1858 in New Milford Township. Children packed the school desks, and the crowd filled the standing room inside and on the porch.
Old Mill Village, according to its mission statement, is “the endeavor of the people of the Land of the Endless Mountains to preserve their heritage….a living, working museum, conducting the crafts and trades of the past.”
Work was begun in 1960 on the grounds, which were owned by George Campbell. The property was transferred to the Endless Mountains Historical Society for the creation of a museum.
Buildings from the region were moved onto the site, some moved intact, while others were dismantled and rebuilt. Other buildings were rebuilt on the grounds to serve specific needs. The museum had its official opening in 1962.
Several of the buildings are still closed due to damage from flooding in June 2006, but are scheduled to be reopened when repairs are completed.
Fireworks were held Saturday night at dusk.
Old Mill Village, located on Rt. 848, New Milford, will feature World War II re-enactors on Saturday, Sept. 25. On Oct. 2, Civil War re-enactors will be doing demonstrations.