The 10 a.m. Heritage Day parade is the kickoff for a lineup of special events at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park on Saturday, Sept. 15. Woodcarving, weaving, tatting, painting and doll making demonstrations are scheduled and Heritage Day participants will be able to play games popular during the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Demos by kids
Rebekah Thiessen, 13, will demonstrate how to make handkerchief dolls, drop spindle spinning and loom weaving. Her 10-year-old brother, Bryce, will be teaching rope making and 8-year-old sister, Ginnie, helps her mother, Laurie, on docent-led tours and with candle making. All of the Thiessen children are home schooled and have been involved with activities at Fresno Flats for about four years commuting from Madera Ranchos.
“I do rope making,” said Bryce. “It’s fun and you get to interact with many kids and it’s something not everyone knows how to do.”
The children excitedly explain the games they will be bringing to Heritage Day. “The game of graces is played by two girls or a girl and a boy,” Ginnie said. This game involves tossing a hoop between the two players who use two short sticks to catch and toss the hoop. The hoop is tossed by pushing the two crossed sticks apart.
Rebekah will also be leading tours of the Laramore-Lyman House. “I like working at Fresno Flats because I enjoy retelling the stories, working with different kinds of people and drawing them in to feel what life was really like,” Rebekah said.
Toys, like those the Thiessen children demonstrate, will be for sale.
Buttermaking and more
Children, as well as adults, can experience the science of making butter and the work required when washing clothes with a washboard and hand-cranked wringer and if you have always dreamed of being a lumberjack, you may try your hand on the two-man saw to see how much effort is required to saw your way through a log. At the gold panning booth, young and old can try their skill at separating the gold from the gravel.
The print shop located at Fresno Flats will also be operating. All of the demonstrations will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.
“Growing up, my mom taught herself to knit and crochet from a book,” said Jean Smith who will be demonstrating the art of tatting, a knotted lace made with hands and a shuttle or a needle. “In turn she taught my sister and I. When I was a senior in high school, my sister gave mom an instruction book on tatting, tatting thread and a tatting shuttle. The three of us sat and tried to figure out how to tat. No success.”
After the Christmas holidays, my girlfriend and I were going over what we had done those days,” Smith said.
“I tried to knit and have a balled up mess,” my friend said.
“I told her that I had tried to learn how to tat,” Smith said. My friend’s reply was that she knew how to tat, her stepfather had taught her (historically, men as well as women have been tatters). “I remember saying that I would straighten out her knitting if she would show me how to tat.” Smith and her friend practiced their tatting in social studies class as the teacher presented her lesson.
Docents will be conducting tours of the village buildings and museum at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. During the tours, Ken Machoian, an historical actor, will be impersonating Boot Taylor, the area’s first forest ranger. He will be in the recreated forest ranger’s office in the Taylor Log House.
Food and drink
For many, sipping a root beer float brings back childhood memories of how they cooled off during the long, hot days of summer. That experience can be recreated at Heritage Day beginning at 11 a.m. These treats will be served while supplies last. If you feel that it is just not right to eat dessert first, Sal’s Taco Truck will be offering a varied menu from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. To wash down all of this tasty food, beer, water and soda will be available.
Wine and cheese tasting will be available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a chuck wagon dinner of deep-pit BBQ beef, Santa Maria beans, potato salad, coleslaw, dinner roll and cobbler will be served on the grounds from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Music and entertainment
A banjo band will provide musical entertainment from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., parade winners will be announced at 2 p.m. and blues will be featured by Wack-a-Mole from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
“I am thrilled the Wack-a-Mole band will be playing for our events,” said Brenda Negley, Sierra Historic Sites Association board member and parade chair. “I am ready to toe tap and dance. They are fabulous and fun.”
Fresno Flats is located at 49777 School Road in Oakhurst.
For additional parade information: 559-760-9108. For additional information about Heritage Day: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a virtual tour of Fresno Flats at www.fresnoflatsmuseum.org.