Spring at the Homestead to offer hands-on experience this weekend
by Marie Nesmith
Apr 24, 2013 | 586 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Moriah Dettwyler, left, and Briana Wills make old fashion candles at Red Top Mountain State Park’s Spring at the Homestead last year. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
Moriah Dettwyler, left, and Briana Wills make old fashion candles at Red Top Mountain State Park’s Spring at the Homestead last year. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
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Through its educational interpretations, Red Top Mountain State Park will provide patrons a glimpse of what life was like in the 19th century. On Saturday and Sunday, the Spring at the Homestead event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with most of the activities centered around the 1800s Vaughan log cabin near the Park Office.

“The overall purpose is to educate visitors so they can see how life was in Georgia before and during the Civil War — so 1840s to 1860s, somewhere in that time frame,” said Steve Hadley, Resource Manager II for Red Top. “There will be demonstrations [with] some pioneer tools and pioneer cooking over an open fire, blacksmithing. And then [we will offer] recreation activities for kids — playing with some of the pioneer toys, candlemaking. Then we’ll have the Civil War encampment. They’ll be [assembling] some tents [and] they’ll be firing some black powder weapons, including cannons.

“[We want people to] remember how life was in north Georgia and how hard it was before and during the Civil War. Then also we’ll be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War next year. So some of these events are kind of a prelude [to a larger observance next year].”

While there will be a host of demonstrations available, Damon Kirkpatrick, president of the Friends of Red Top Mountain State Park, said the highlight of the event will be the cannon firing.

“We will have a live cannon that will be [located] away from the cabin ... in the field behind the Park Office,” Kirkpatrick said. “They’ll be doing cannon displays as well as black powder displays, which are always a huge hit because everybody just loves to see the cannon go off. But then, we’ll [also] have the things that we normally [offer] at this event.

“... Basically what we do is interpret the time period. So we don’t do first person interpretation. We mainly do educational interpretation. So when we’re demonstrating how to churn butter — we actually tell people about the process and what went into it and things like that. It’s an educational experience but it’s also very hands-on. So the hands-on [aspect] is what really lets people step back in time and see what things really were like, smell the smells, hear the sounds and then actually get involved in doing those types of crafts and [activities].”

Even though Spring at the Homestead will be open and free to the public, participants will need to display a $5 daily or an annual ParkPass in their vehicles to attend. For more information, call 770-975-0055 or visit www.gastateparks.org/redtopmountain.