Monday, October 4, 2010

Fort King Festival

This past weekend was the annual Fort King Festival held at the Fort King Museum.  This festival is the kick-off for the fall festival season here in these parts.  It is also a fund raiser(via a chicken dinner) for the Fort King Museum.  Usually we go as a family, however S and Sweetie pie went out of town to visit relatives so it was just The Rocket and I.  As always, the child part of the equation uttered the same old complaint to going out to a festival af any kind-"I don't wanna go!" and "Awwww do I have to?"  You know it's funny- just a day before, heck even the week before, he was saying how he wanted to dress up in his indian costume for the festival and was excited about going!

First thing we do is the candle making station.  I have a collection of candles the kids have made at various festivals over the years(I should probably get them out and burn them or they will overtake me soon...).   They always have a good time doing this activity and it's a lasting reminder of fun we have had. 

There are various booths around the festival, each demonstrating different period occupations and necessities. Alot of the same demonstrators come back year after year(alot of them also do the Ocali Cracker Days over at Silver River State Park).  It's fun to get to know these people a little bit more every year, they are starting to remember us! 
The woman below spins yarn from rabbit hair.  She sits her rabbits on her lap and then as they are shedding, she pulls the shedding hair off the rabbit and spins it into yarn.  She has spun many different types of fibers into yarn and has a collection of them for you to feel.  She also has some beautiful knitted/crocheted items for sale.  A word of caution for kids- the rabbits are working, so you can't pet them.

This is the cooper.  If you need a bucket or a dipper made, this is the man to see.  He carves the wood pieces and then fits them together with a metal ring around to hold them together.  Here he is in action:

A blacksmith hard at work, he was making a hook at the time.  This man does beautiful work!

This is a Spanish Conquistador.  His horse's name is Dixie, I forgot his name...  He was incredibly knowledgeable in the history of the different conquistadors and what kinds and numbers of horses they brought with them.  Dixie is a decendant of the Florida Cracker horses, which are believed to be decendants of the Conquistador's horses that were left here in Florida. 
He was kind enought to let The Rocket try on his hat:
It wasn't that heavy, as I tried it on too.  However after wearing it for a while, I imagine it got hot and heavy!
Inside the hat is a type of sling made of leather that fits the wearer's head(kind of like the inside of a construction hat), so the metal isn't actually resting on your head.

The next stop was the surgeon, he has an array of tools for display.  Fletcher was complaining about his tooth being loose and so the surgeon volunteered to pull it out for him!
No Problem!
Just kidding...  The Rocket had pulled it out the night before!
Hmmmm, exciting tools...

Over at the chickee huts, an indian was teaching how to throw spears with an atlatl.  An atlatl gives more leverage to the spear when thrown, so it flies faster and farther.  We had read about these in a book called The Crafts of Florida's First People by Robin C. Brown, the same book that had inspired him to make his arrow.  The Rocket caught on pretty quick and was very good at it!
This man was very patient and since it wan't busy The Rocket and two other boys had the best time trying to outdo each other!

This is one of the chickee huts at the museum, it is a permanent display and you can go inside them.  It is surprisingly cooler in there!

This lady and her husband are regulars at this festival, they also do alot of other festivals around Florida, (including the Old Florida festival in Naples).  They are knowledgeable and fun to converse with.  She has been working on this pouch for a couple years now and maybe by next year it will be finished.  She has hand beaded all the detailing on it!

Here is a group just shooting the breeze. 
All of the exhibitors here at the Fort King Festival are very informative and willing to tell you all you care to know about their occupation in history.  I learn something new every time I go and that's part of the fun!  The Rocket saw his Indian buddy from last year(the inspiration for his Halloween costume) and they got to play for a while on a swing while I was learning. 
It was a fun couple of hours, and the weather was perfect for it.  I enjoyed mostly just being with The Rocket by myself, special times together!


D'Ache' said...

Hey, it's a good time for just you and Fletcher.

conquistador said...

The unnamed conquistador is Bill Boston.

Amber said...

Thank you kind sir! It was great talking with you and learning some new things, we always do when we go to these festivals! See you next year unless we see you at another festival!