This article is a reprint from the May 14, 1993 edition of the Spirit of Democracy. The articles in the next few weeks will be taken from Denny's favorites.
I’ve had several things in mind to write about this week. Maybe I can express a few of my thoughts about the recent Heritage Festival.
This was the second year for the festival. I think Virginia Smithberger has done an excellent job heading up the committee. No one knows how much time and effort she has given to the festival. In general, she has enlisted an uncounted number of people to help with the activities. This is what it takes to make things go. The OR&W days fell by the wayside because there were not enough bodies to carry out the event and there were some objections to closing off Main Street.
The sponsors of the OR&W days chose to forget about the festival rather than to sit down and work out the problems. So be it. The Heritage Days Festival was started to take the place of OR&W Days.
I enjoyed the Heritage Days. I guess it’s because I enjoy being around people. Those of you who stayed away missed out on a chance to learn how to quilt. The ladies of the Will-Sun Ruritan Club had a quilt set up on a frame and were willing to teach or allow anyone to quilt. Many, many ladies came by and said, “I can remember my mother quilting but I never could do it.” If the truth were known, I would suspect 75 percent of those making that statement either have never tried to quilt or didn’t want to learn how.
I listened to lady after lady say to me, “Why don’t you sit down and quilt?” This went on in various forms all day Friday. Saturday, I decided to call their bluff and start quilting. Then they started the other way making remarks about a man quilting. In fact, one lady almost ran her car off the road as a result of her watching me quilt. I finally had to tell the ladies to “shut up” and went on quilting.
I will admit I never quite developed the knack or ability to quilt from the top of the quilt. I could go down through the quilt but the needle came up anywhere from a half to three quarters of an inch from where I expected it. Even I could figure out my top stitches were going to be anywhere in the neighborhood of a half inch apart. It doesn’t take very many smarts to realize this was not right so I started pushing my needle all the way through and then bringing it back up through where I wanted it to come up to make a small stitch. This worked! I’ll admit this was slower than the approved method of quilting, but it worked for me. I’ll match my stitches against any in the quilt. I think I could pick them out with no trouble. (They were so good.)
I was all set to resume my quilting skills after the parade but the women had rolled it up and put it away because they were thinking it was going to rain. (I think they were afraid my stitches were going to put them to shame.) Come to think of it, this would be a good contest for Heritage Days, a men’s quilting contest. The problem would be getting enough men with enough gumption to try it.
Someone said, “There were no rides to bring the kids”. Maybe true but no one can say the youth that participated in the activities planned did not enjoy them. The problem wasnot enough participated. This falls back to disinterest by parents. We have so organized our kids with little league and the like they don’t know how to really enjoy themselves. Case and point. When was the last time you saw a kid riding a stick horse? I’ve ridden many a stick horse into the ground.
The tractor pull for kids really created some excitement and was a lot of fun. The only problem was only about fifty or so participated when we should have had a couple of hundred participate. Here again parents didn’t encourage their kids to participate. (Get with it folks.)
There are many positive things about the Heritage Days. I’ll probably have more thoughts about it later. I know you folks stop reading if the “Burnside” gets too long and I don’t want you to miss any of the good stuff.
One last shot for now. A high percentage of our county thinks of Heritage Days as being a Woodsfield project and not a county-wide festival. Let’s face it; our county is not large enough to handle these festivals or events on one weekend unless they compliment each other. Part of our problem is we’re too tied up in our own little world to look past our nose. (Don’t get started.)
Do you know what has six feet but never moves? (Two yards).