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Harvest Festival Takes People Back In Time At Denison House

October 8, 2018
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Harvest Festival Takes People Back In Time At Denison House

FORTY FORT — It was harvest time, colonial style, at the Nathan Denison House on Sunday. As cars drove by and people took photos on smartphones, volunteers and re-enactors dressed in historically accurate attire demonstrated what a fall harvest festival might have looked like in the 18th and 19th centuries. A blacksmith with a forge and bellows set up next to a demonstration of crosscut sawing, which attracted a crowd of young people eager to saw off the end of a log the way it was done in 1825. A display of 18th-century woodworking was found on the other end of the lawn outside the Denison House, built in 1790 by prominent soldier Col. Nathan Denison and now maintained by the Luzerne County Historical Society. There was also a display of Irish Blue goat’s milk soap. The Wyoming Valley West Chamber Orchestra performed music composed in the 18th century. Military re-enactors portrayed members of the 24th Connecticut Militia Regiment, the unit in which Col. Denison served during the famous Battle of Wyoming. The event drew a large crowd on a warm humid day that felt more like summer than fall. Military re-enactor Mark Kahn portrayed a regimental chaplain in the 24th Regiment. Kahn, of West Wyoming, made sure to attend to a chaplain’s duties of ministering to his soldiers. “If I didn’t, I could be court-martialed,” he said. Ty Zimmerman traveled about two hours from Camp Hill to share his display of traditional blacksmithing. In the early 19th century, a blacksmith — who forged horseshoes and “pretty much any tool” out of metal — was a vital part of every community, he said. Children had the chance to decorate pumpkins and take part in other crafts at the family friendly event. The annual harvest festival is “one of the major events of the year at the Denison House,” said Aimee Newell, the historical society’s executive director. Planning the festival takes a nearly year-long effort from “lots of dedicated volunteers,” she said. The historical society welcomes new volunteers, according to Newell. Those interested may call 570-823-6244, or see online: https://luzernehistory.org/. Contact the writer: emark@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2117

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