Smoke & Steam Show
(Lang Pioneer Village)

Kevin Stuart

by Festival Nomad Correspondent, Kevin Stuart

The Show...

At Lang Pioneer Village they like to say it’s where history comes alive and it definitely is a lively place to visit on special occasions. The family and I had the pleasure of enjoying the 15th annual Father’s Day Smoke & Steam Show. Upon our arrival we were immediately greeted with the sounds of antique tractors firing up. What is more inviting to a guy like Dad than the sound of raw machinery in action. Of course it wasn’t all work. The tractor games were a part of the festivities and they also staged a parade through the entire village for all to view. Even for the average city slicker it was fascinating to watch the various shapes, sizes, colours and eras represented in this show of one of the iconic figures of life on the land. Be sure to view highlights of the parade in the photos below.

Making Our Way...

We made our way around the various buildings in the village starting with Milburn House which offered samples of strawberry shortcake. Similar to our visit last December for a Christmas by Candlelight, it was a place for enjoying smells and tastes. Definitely another way to appeal to most dads, myself included.

Demonstrations...

The village workers were certainly busy demonstrating many chores from the day. In front the Fife Cabin we witnessed the procedure for wool spinning and natural dying over an open cauldron. It takes a little know-how and painstaking attention to accomplish this. The longer the wool is in the pot, the deeper the colour, but one must be careful not to leave it in too long or it will be ruined. For this reason it must be continually stirred.

Back to School...

Further on it was back to school time and I mean that in a serious sense. South Lake School’s teacher literally kept us in line, getting boys and girls (of all ages) to line up separately and proceed into the one room classroom in a quiet and orderly fashion. Once inside, the rules of proper decorum were emphasized which served to authenticate the adherence to discipline that was expected. For some of us older children, it sent a slight shiver recalling what some of us experienced. Of course, it was no easy task for the teachers who had to instruct several grades at once. Now that was multitasking!

More Stops...

We also made a few stops where we learned about preparation and storage of food pioneer style. A brief stop at the cheese factory provided us with samples of cheese curd which were also available for purchase. Just down the road, the smoke house near the ice house. While it was only a replica, it effectively portrayed the methods used to keep food fresh in the pre-refrigeration era.

Lots of Food...

Actually, food was in abundance at a few places throughout Lang Pioneer Village. Entering the Menie General Store is not unlike some country markets that are prevalent in many parts of the province. The rustic atmosphere is adorned with many antique items from days that will likely have most kids asking their parents “what’s that for?” My son’s confectionary of choice was maple, watermelon and green apple lollipops. Several other goodies were also available for sale to suit all tastes.

Next door at the Keene Hotel more food and drink awaited weary “travelers” with butter tarts, lemonade, and even ginger beer. From there we wondered the many guest rooms in what would be considered luxurious surroundings for the day.

Music and Stories...

Those are some of the sights, smells and tastes, and for the ears there was old-tyme singing provided by Rob “N’ Roy. Nothing can capture the spirit of a period quite like those folk songs of old performed in the town square.
A special thanks must go to the many interpretive volunteers who helped bring the stories of a bygone era back to life and being so knowledgeable in answering our questions. It really does feel like one big community gathering with a little something for Dad and the rest of the family. For more events happening regularly at Lang Pioneer Village, visit www.langpioneervillage.ca.

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