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Friday, 02 September 2016 13:41

Our heritage comes alive at Beckman Mill

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BELOIT -- People can take a step back in time this weekend and learn what life was like living near a mill about a hundred years ago.

Friends of Beckman Mill will host Heritage Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 at Beckman Mill County Park, 11600 County Highway H west of Beloit. Heritage Day has been held for at least 20 years, said Sheri Disrud, member of Friends of Beckman Mill.

The event will include tours of the Beckman Mill and Museum and of the Cooperage/Beckman Home. Buzz Beckman will be available to share stories of what it was like growing up in the home. Author Gary Hess will talk about his book "Roll Out the Barrels" and explain how barrels were made during the late 1800s. Several products that are produced at the mill will be available for purchase at the gift shop.

Heritage Day will feature a car show, antique tractors and old-fashioned farm equipment. The event will include demonstrations of broom making, wool spinning, chair canning, pottery making and woodcarving.

Activities for children include digging for potatoes, assisting a blacksmith, making butter, shelling corn and  building a cabin with life-sized Lincoln Logs.

"We have a lot of activities for the kids," Disrud said. "We will have a blacksmith out there, and he’s going to be doing some blacksmithing. He will let some kids come in and help him."

There will be a moment of silence in remembrance of 9/11.

"We also plan on singing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and other patriotic songs," Disrud said.

Entertainment includes mountain dulcimer music from Richard and Val Dunagan and concertina music from John Sheehan and the Pleasant Valley Dutchmen.

Friends of Beckman Mill spend several months planning for Heritage Day.

"I schedule the demonstrators. There’s another committee that handles the food and beverages. We get volunteers who come out and help with the tours," Disrud said. "We have local teens who help us with odds and ends and help set up."

Admission is free, however, donations will be accepted. There is a cost to ride in a 1912 Overland for $2 beginning at 1 p.m.

Proceeds are used to help maintain the museum, Cooperage/Beckman Mill Home and the mill.

"When we have these events, it helps us maintain the grounds and we get to show it off," Disrud said. "It’s rewarding when people say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never been here before, and I’ve always wanted to see what it’s like.’"

The event also helps people learn about local history.

"The history is getting lost. There’s very few mills operating in Wisconsin. I think there’s maybe two or three, and we’re one of them," Disrud said.

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