The Homestead Heritage Fair began today, Friday, November 28th, and it ends Sunday, November 30th. The weather is beautiful and there were approximately 9,200 visitors in attendance today. It’s a new record, the previous record was 9,000 in one day. Both Friday and Saturday had days of record attendance. It’s estimated there were at least 25,000 people in attendance during the three day event. Thankfully, the weather was really good all days. It was a bit more windy than everyone wanted it to be, but temperature wise it was good. Monday morning it was really cold and windy, so we are all glad it held off until after the fair. If you get to Texas, please be sure to visit Homestead Heritage. Feel free to check out their website, there are many interesting shops with links on the website. You can also order many items online and have them shipped.
I posted pictures online that I took during the Fair and during the weeks leading up to the fair. Instead of creating a new photo album just for the Fair, I added the approximately 700 pictures I took in the past three days to the album I created a few weeks ago. So, if you already have looked at the pictures in the album, skip through the first 200 pictures and look at the rest. I added each day’s pictures after the previous day’s pictures so if you see the yellow and white striped Gristmill tent, or the Cheese Tent, etc. know that the next set of photos are different than the previous day’s photos even though they might look similar. There are also pictures of storyboards that have stories that several of the children that live here have written about different experiences they have. I hope the text is clear enough so that you can read their stories. I took pictures both with and without the visitors so that you can see the various booths and exhibits. Looking at the pictures with the visitors you can get a feel for what it was like to walk around during the Fair.
On both Friday and Saturday of the Fair, friends of mine from Dallas and Fort Worth came to visit with their families so I walked around both days giving tours of the grounds, exhibits, and demonstrations. I was also able to explain about various areas such as the Aquaponics Greenhouse, Gristmill, cheese making, weaving, etc. since I have been helping in these areas, or watching them be completed, for a few weeks this time and in previous years. My friends told me that they enjoyed the Fair and even more so because I was with them explaining things and making sure that they saw what was of most interest to them. The aquaponics area had a small scale garden using plastic barrels and goldfish.
Of course, we made sure that we sampled many of the delicious foods and desserts. There were so many unusual and regular foods that it was difficult to choose what to eat. I’m glad there were three days to the fair so I could eat a variety of these foods. I even bought extra foods and desserts so that I could eat them on the drive back home. It turned out well, I didn’t have to cook on the way back.
The choirs and orchestra performances were outstanding. One of the children’s choir songs sounded like rain and thunder. The sounds were made only by stamping feet, and rubbing, clapping hands and snapping fingers. Another song, performed by the adult orchestra sounded like a train, including a machine that made steam that looked like a steam engine was there. Another amazing and humorous performance was when one of the very talented musicians played the part of making believe he was a new student that was just learning to play the piano. His “teacher” played the part well. Then a short time later, two other musicians joined in and all four of them were playing two pianos. They continually played as the four of them walked around the two pianos, not missing a beat of the song. It was magical and very entertaining.
Fresh apples were pressed into apple cider which was sold in one of the food booths, and the Gristmill was demonstrating how a portable mill that was used to grind grains operated. Because it is portable, it was moved from town to town grinding grains at various rural towns in olden days.
The Native American Trail Marker Tree I found very interesting. I’ve seen it all of the years I have been at Homestead Heritage, but until this year when I saw the sign explaining about the tree, I didn’t know it had a purpose other than serving as a bench.
The Brazos Valley Cheese Shop tent had a display showing the wheels of cheese, and a case with a cowboy hat, cowboy boot, and turkey all carved out of cheese. As I wrote in the previous stories I wrote recently, the cheese is made in the mornings after the milk from local dairies is delivered.
Josh Stewart that works in the Cheese Shop is an extremely talented artist. His paintings and drawings are remarkable. I really enjoy looking at his artwork.
My friend Kevin who is extremely involved in Homestead Barns did barn raising demonstrations where visitors could help raise parts of the barn structure. Kevin and his company build barn houses all over the country. I have been in a few of the structures he’s built since they are on the Homestead Heritage property. Check out the Homestead Barns website to see some of these beautiful houses, including the Crawford Ranch where President Bush and his wife Laura live. Their house was featured in Architectural Digest a few months ago. At the fair there was a poster explaining why barns are painted red.
My friend Shahar is very involved in the Homestead Gristmill. He went to mills in other states and learned how to mill grain and he has taught others here how to operate the mill and grind grains. Checkout Homestead Gristmill on their website. They will gladly send you any items on their website, I can tell you everything is very delicious and non-GMO.
Randy and Terri own Brim Seed Company. I found their tent very interesting. All seeds are no GMO, organic, and the best seeds to buy for a healthy food crop. Living in a small apartment, I found myself very interested in several items in their tent that would allow me or anyone to grow vegetables in a small area, either with or without soil. The hydroponic towers to grow plants using only water with nutrients was very interesting.
Homestead Fiber Craft Shop is an amazing shop. They carry traditional types of yarn, and also hand dyed and spun yarn. All of the dishtowels, scarfs, hats, quilts, etc. are handwoven, knitted, or sewn here and every item has the name and age of the person that made the item. My friend Shlomit who is 13 hooked a rug that was the base for a barnyard scene. Other girls crocheted animals, a barn, and people to complete this scene. Another group of girls crocheted a tea set. I am so impressed by the skill of everyone here.
The hay maze, children’s animal petting area, and hands on craft’s were really popular. The children loved making candles, weaving a coaster, assembling a wood boat, and many more hands on projects. It was fun watching the children do these various projects.
The Fair was over Sunday afternoon and then everyone packed up all of the merchandise, food products, etc. that was left in the booths so they could get ready for business the next day. On Monday morning, almost the only sign that there was a fair this weekend were the tents that were still up.
I’m so happy that the Fair was a huge success, just like it always is. The weather cooperated and everyone there looked like they were having a great time enjoying the food, listening to the demonstrations, looking at the exhibits, and learning about various aspects of this community and the way they live.