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Heritage Day planned

The 24th annual Heritage Day 2017 will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 9 in Courtland, sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society and the Heritage Village/Agriculture & Forestry Museum at 26315 Heritage Lane in Courtland.

Admission at the Ag & Forestry Museum is $5 for adults and $2 for school age children. Preschoolers are free.

Museum equipment such as the saw mill, grist mill and printing presses will run intermittently during the day. Crafts people from Virginia and North Carolina will demonstrate old crafts, with craft items for sale. Lunch will be for sale on the grounds, including barbecue, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, snacks, apple and sweet potato jacks, water and soft drinks.

The Museum of Southampton History, adjacent at 22541 Linden St., open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature several special exhibits, including to-scale models of local homes and historic buildings built by E. B. Gayle and photographs of many more old homes. A recently restored 1824-34 pistol, found by a diver at Monroe Bridge in the Nottoway River, will be on exhibit for the first time. The Prehistory Exhibit displays prehistoric shells, sharks’ teeth and whale vertebrae from when Southampton County was part of the ocean floor. The very popular Military Room highlights the service of our local soldiers in all wars through uniforms, photos, memorabilia and weaponry. Entry here is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Three levels of trains will be running throughout the day inside the main building at the Ag Museum. One train is a hands-on for youngsters to run themselves.

New for kids will be an updated scavenger hunt to find items throughout the museum complex. Kids completing the hunt get a free bag of popcorn.

Dr. Will Dunstan and Rick Francis will be at the Rebecca Vaughan House, on site, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions about Nat Turner and the 1831 Southampton Slave Insurrection. Mahone’s Tavern, on Main Street, will also be open.

Always a popular attraction, the museum’s grist mill will be grinding fine cornmeal, which will be available for a donation. Samples of hot corn bread made from that meal will be given away throughout the day. Volunteers will demonstrate the old technique of typesetting on the museum’s two old printing presses, an 1885 Chandler & Price and a Columbian No. 2, treadle operated and hand fed. Visitors can print a free bookmark bearing the museum’s logo.

Antique cars and tractors will be on display. Small gasoline engines will be “put-putting” throughout the day. In addition, the 1920s ground sawmill, planer mill and factory whistle will be in operation several times during the day. The blacksmith shop also will be open, with blacksmiths at work.

Among the crafts being demonstrated and for sale visitors will find painted gourds, baskets, handmade jewelry, sewing, quilting, candles, floral arrangements, wreaths, paintings, yard art, signs from reclaimed wood, as well as various types of needlework and wood work. Artisans from the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia will blend contemporary and traditional art through beadwork, flute making, wood carving, quilting and pottery making. Other special demonstrations include wood carving, spinning, crocheting and knitting. Some of the old crafts to see are butter churning, washboard washing of clothes and hominy making. A state certified local trapper will demonstrate how to handle and tan fur. See a bee keeper with a live hive. Gourds, pumpkins, produce, pickles, jams, jellies and baked goods will be for sale.

“Shiloh Grass,” a local blue grass band and crowd favorite, will entertain during the day. The little country church is always an attraction, and this year will feature old-fashioned hymn sings. Come see special exhibits of old Blacksmithing Tools, an assortment of old washing machines, as well as corn-cob pipe making and story-telling in the one room school.

Children of all ages will have a ball in a petting zoo featuring baby chicks hatching. Smokey the Bear will visit, and there will be hay rides, face painting, wheel barrow rides and a hen house of chickens. Also, young folks can learn the art of milking a cow by practicing on “Mattie.”

In addition to all the special activities, visitors are welcome to tour the Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings and Heritage Village, which includes a country store, one room school, country dwelling, doctor’s office, smoke house, old post office and two outhouses, among other buildings. A restored barber shop will be open with family members telling stories about its history.