WEST SPARTA — It started as a way to bring the community together for one big event they could all be proud of.
West Sparta Historical Society Vice-President Sarah Booher with a little help from her friends started the West Sparta Historical Society in 2006.
“We started an Historical Society in 2006 and did a few things called History Days,” she said. “We would bring our collection of historical items to show off to the community.”
In 2009 Booher and the others sought a grant to help them bring in more art and entertainment.
“We started it in 2010 as an idea to bring a free high quality event, and history of the area to the community,” she said. “It is free to anyone who wants to come. Our community didn’t have any community based events. West
Sparta is a little town and there is nothing here. This gets people together to learn background of the town’s history and have high quality entertainment.”
The event starts July 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities run all day and as always are totally free and open to the public. The grounds are accessible and parking is free.
Vendors are still wanted. For more information and for applications for vendors, tug of war contestants or the tractor/car show contact Sarah Booher, 585-335-5094 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back by popular demand are the wonderful musical talents of the Warsaw Barbershop Chorus and Chordbuster Quartet directed by Bob Fuest; the Genesee Country Dancers doing participative 19Century dances, Tug of War Contest of local teams vying for $300 in prize money, fashion show of ladies apparel of the 18 and 19 centuries expanded by outfits modeled by friends of Atlanta, NY Library known as “We Wear History” and the mustang training demonstrations by trainers Emma and Jack Minteer.
New programs include a pre-event dedication at 9:45 a.m. of the historic Byersville millstone donated by Alynn and Mark Mullikin in the Town Hall Garden by Aimee Alden, Livingston County Historian. A brand new act full of more fun than most people can bear is “Accordian Pat” a lively program presented by Pat Gambacurta of Rochester.
“The giant millstone was once part of a flour grinder and is the bottom wheel,” Booher said. “It is part of the big mill that was on the creek. The creek was the biggest in West Sparta, so they had huge millstones.”
West Sparta Historical Society President Sue Erdel and Event Coordinator Marge Cansdale deserve some credit as well for helping Booher put this all together.
Other enduring features of Old-Fashioned Day continue with the vintage tractor and car display, the children’s games and prizes, all-day pony rides and petting zoo, various arts, crafts and sale vendors, food tents, historic displays in the Town Hall and by Town Historian, David Palmer.
“Our town historian will have a tent set up with lots of old tools and things to talk about,” Booher said. “We will have period country dancers come to show us how to do the dances from that time. They will be dressed in periodic clothing as well.”
Once again we will enjoy both military and civilian Civil war camps set up by the 140 Volunteer Infantry group, blacksmithing demonstration by Gary Gerken, and all day tractor rides.
“We have a family that does Civil War Reenactment in Rochester that comes every year,” Booher said. “They create a military and civilian encampment for everyone to enjoy. They are all very professional, and show what it is like to have lived in that time period”
Although those who enjoy the event do not have to dress up in periodic clothing they are certainly more than welcome to.
“We would love it if people showed up in period clothing,” Booher said. “We have one guy who shows up in Revolutionary War clothing every year.”
The traditional Old-Fashioned Day Parade led by Grand Marshall, Linda Johnson, West Sparta’s senior citizen of 2015 will features vintage cars and tractors special vehicles, horses, marchers and is open to all who are ready to go at noon.
West Sparta Old-Fashioned Day is coordinated by a joint task force of, West Sparta Fire Department, West Sparta Methodist Church, West Sparta Historical Society, and the Town of West Sparta and is funded by farm, business and individual sponsors, proceeds of the annual Spaghetti Dinner, and the Town of West Sparta.
“Families should bring their kids, because we have lots of fun things for them to do all day,” Booher said. “We have pony rides, wagon rides, games, and prizes.”
Booher said she is excited for another successful and fun year and enjoys the programs the most.