Colonial Times provides a glimpse back in time

  • Posted: 10/30/2012 8:19 PM
    6/1/2013 6:28 PM

Dennis Fraser, 2, was fascinated by a toy with little wooden chickens that he could make peck at pieces of yellow grain painted on the cylinder they were perched on.

The toy was something enjoyed by children living in the 18th century, but it certainly entertained this child of today as Fraser giggled and played with it for a few moments on Saturday. He was one of many enjoying the 21st Annual Colonial Times: A Day to Remember sponsored by the Olde Towne Preservation Association.

"We've come here every year since he was born," said his mother Molly Fraser of Trenton. "It's so fun. This is one of the most fun festivals during this time of year."

Held at the Living History Park in North Augusta, the annual event draws people from around the state who want to experience life during the years of 1735 to 1785.

"It's amazing, it really is," said Brenda Bancroft, vice president of Olde Towne Preservation Association. "We've had people from all around. And you know what? We even had some children who were at our student day on Friday bring their family back today. That's just wonderful."

A lot is happening at the park - from magic shows to dance lessons - there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Eric Scites of Faire Wynds, a family circus that does shows inspired by those done in the 18th century, said they educate as well as entertain the modern audience. On Saturday afternoon, Scites was eating fire one moment and playing the glass harp (glasses filled with varying levels of water to create different pitches and played by waving chalky or moisten fingers over them) with his wife Susan the next.

"We do strange and unusual things," Scites said with a grin. "I don't know what else to call it really."

Dance Master Dana Cheney is also at the event, offering lessons in dance prior to 1782 in the barn on the park's site. Dancing was a big part of people's lives in the 18th century as they would do it often at town gatherings or dinner parties. Cheney's wife, Bonita, said if someone didn't dance, they would watch, which was just as entertaining, especially if they had access to a balcony.

"The patterns that the dances make, a clover leaf and there's a wagon wheel, and the colors of the dresses twirling - it's very attractive," Bonita said.

For the first time at the event, a militia was formed, and it had a skirmish with some British soldiers on Saturday. Captain Mike Adams put the militia together and was excited about the demonstration.

"The South Carolina Militia from Olde Towne organized and had its first battle today," he said before gathering his men and heading back to camp after the fight.

James Cole of Grovetown, Ga., said he tries to get to the event each year. His favorite part is the re-enactors and how committed they are to their roles.

"This is wonderful, absolutely terrific," Cole said. "It's just neat to see how they did it back them - simple living."

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