Olentangy Valley News

Good Ol' Days fest

Society invokes yesteryear with new fundraiser on Sept. 8

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The city of Powell will return to its roots when the Powell Liberty Historical Society hosts the first Good Ol' Days festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 8.

Taking the place of the society's annual pancake breakfast, Good Ol' Days will feature antique sales and appraisals, blacksmith and campfire-cooking demonstrations, Civil War re-enactments, live music and dancing. All the festivities will be held at 233 S. Liberty St., across from Village Academy.

"We want to be visible in the community and a part of our mission is to educate, so (it's good) to be able to do it in this way by offering something that's a little bit old-fashioned and not your typical festival," said Carole Wilhelm, president of the Powell Liberty Historical Society.

Although the event, just by its name alone, has a historical thread, Wilhelm said many time periods will be represented. For example, the Delaware County Antique Farm Machinery Association will display its equipment, and artisans will spin, weave and quilt next to merchants selling contemporary jewelry, clothes and home decor.

Hungry visitors can stop at the Speckled Hen Farm Cluckwagon, Miller's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream, Bill's Bakery and Kim's Kobblers and Bread, or they can try samples of fresh-pressed apple cider and corn cakes that have been cooked over an open fire.

Historical society members Stan and Sherry Carmichael will make cider throughout the day with an apple press that they believe could be more than 100 years old.

Sherry Carmichael, a sixth-generation Powell resident, inherited the press from her stepfather, who found it at his sheep farm that once operated on Powell Road.

"We have a small orchard and we often as a family make apple butter in the fall," she said. "Given the time of year this event is taking place, we thought it'd be a good time to bring it out and show people how to make cider."

"Maybe others can start a similar family tradition," she added.

Anne Hatter will show off pieces from her collection of cast-iron skillets when she uses them to cook corn cakes over an open fire. Hatter said that over the course of the six-hour event, she plans to make about 400 corn cakes from fresh-ground corn that can be sampled with molasses honey or maple syrup.

In addition to her tasty samples, Hatter said she hopes her Good Ol' Days demonstration will provide visitors with a better understanding of and appreciation for fresh foods.

"People always say how the cakes taste better than any others they've had and it's because I don't use ingredients that have been sitting on a shelf in the store," she said.

"A lot of people are very removed from where their food comes from, and this shows people the effort that people used to put into getting food on the table."

Entertainment throughout the day will include square dancing, a performance by the Sweet Adelines and a bagpiper.

Residents who want to become the star of the show can take part in the society's new oral-history project. Each resident will be video-recorded for five to 15 minutes describing their average day in Powell.

From 1 to 3 p.m., Steve Bemiller from Garth's Auctions will be on hand to appraise antiques at $5 per item.

For about 25 years, the pancake breakfast was the society's signature fundraising event. Wilhelm said the event lacked ambiance after the historic party barn that housed it was torn down to accommodate condos on West Olentangy Street. The demolition forced the breakfast to be held last at the city's Municipal Building.

All of the proceeds from antique sales and appraisals at Good Ol' Days will benefit the historical society, which funds the upkeep of its offices inside the Martin-Perry Homestead. The society opened the home that was built in 1889 to the public in 1990.

"We don't have a specific amount we'd like to raise, and this is our first year, so we don't know what to expect, but we knew we needed to do something different," Wilhelm said. "The Powell Street Market will be taking place just down the street that day, so what I do know is that it's going to be one happening day in Powell."

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