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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

John R. Park Celebrates Lost Arts

by Garrett Fodor

Local residents received an opportunity to learn more about a historic landmark this past weekend as the annual Lost Arts Festival was hosted at the John R. Park Homestead.

  On Sunday, a festival, celebrating the lost arts, was hosted in recognition of the John R. Park Homestead’s 40th anniversary of becoming a museum and conservation area. The event allowed attendees a chance to try various forms of art, learn about beekeeping, and churn butter. Eventgoers were also able to tour the original Park family house from 1842 and watch a blacksmithing demonstration. Live music also serenaded across the grounds that housed over 40 vendor tables.

  Kris Ives is the Curator for the Homestead. She said the event has become a tradition over the years.

  “The homestead has been hosting a festival in August for a long time, and it used to be a lot of craft vendors and we found people had a strong interest in things that are handmade locally and things that are done the old-fashioned way,” Ives said. “It has been seven or eight years since we switched it to just the lost arts.”

  While experiencing the methods of those lost arts, and being able to purchase items to take home, those in attendance also received an education on the historic grounds and were told about the experiences of living in the 1800s.

  Jim Chambers has been a volunteer at John R. Park Homestead for 30 years. He said he feels just having a chance to share the story makes volunteering worth it.

  “I started off doing blacksmithing here, but my hobby was woodcarving. Now, as people come through, I get them to play with the old wooden games as I work on my carvings,” Chambers said. “I enjoy coming here, looking out at the lake, and talking to people as I love telling people stories about the house and the bedroom areas. And, everyone is always interested in the old wooden games.”

  The education program is a big part of the draw for the John R. Park Homestead and continues to grow each year. Ives said this event helps get people to the grounds and brings people with similar interests together.

  The Homestead welcomes 13,000 visitors each year, and nearly 4,000 school children. The funds raised will go towards maintaining the museum and supporting the education program, Ives said.


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