Homestead Days

Monday, June 27 2016 Written by
¡Hola! [caption id="attachment_6059" align="alignright" width="260"]The Homestead parade float of a Minion character as a park ranger. The Homestead parade float of a Minion character as a park ranger.[/caption] This past weekend we celebrated Homestead Days both at the parade in town and at Homestead National Monument. First we took our parade float out into town. Our float was a Minion dressed as a park ranger, which was built by the Youth Conservation Corps. This year Homestead also invited the Kilcher family from the show Alaska: The Last Frontier to be in the parade as a homestead family. They sat on the float while I held a banner in front with a couple of other volunteers. It was exciting to see some of the other floats with tractors and horses, but it was also funny to see people so thrilled for the Kilcher family on the Homestead float. [caption id="attachment_6062" align="alignleft" width="259"]Ranger Nick showing the girl scouts where the homesteader outfits are located for children to dress up. Ranger Nick showing the girl scouts where the homesteader outfits are located for children to dress up.[/caption] Back at the park we had many different activities and demonstrations for visitors to spectate and to participate in. I had the opportunity to be a part of the children’s festival. I worked with one of the rangers and a few other volunteers to set up the festival. We had different “pioneer” games for visiting children and families to play such as jacks, ring toss, marbles, sack races, and so on. There were also other stations for coloring, receiving a junior ranger temporary tattoo, and dressing up like a homesteader. On the first day we had some girl scouts helping out. One of them showed me how to play with one of the toys that we called a “zinger” because it made a zinging noise. It was made from only a string and a button. The goal was to wind the button up on the string and then make it zing! After I learned how to make it work, we then taught the kids how to make one and how to play with it. It was really neat to be able to teach today’s kids how children used to entertain themselves in the past. I loved seeing their faces light up as I made the zing noise with such common household items. [caption id="attachment_6061" align="alignright" width="347"]Ranger Nick demonstrating how to play with the zinger toy. Ranger Nick demonstrating how to play with the zinger toy.[/caption] On the second day I was in charge of giving the kids their junior ranger tattoos. We had a few more volunteers so I was able to wander around every now and then. I would welcome families, give out prizes for playing the games, and demonstrating or explaining how to play them. It was fun to watch them laugh as they raced in potato sacks or take pictures as they tried on homesteader clothes. The best part was seeing the families leave with smiles on their faces. During the week I was back to working on the Dempster project. First I had to contact past employees and ask them if they would be interested in being interviewed for the project. I explained to them how important it is to preserve their stories and make them available to future generations. I also continued organizing the collection of photographs. Identifying the different products is important in order to be able to organize the photographs properly. I feel as though I’m learning more about fertilizing trucks and water pumps than I ever thought I would in my life! I hope to start scheduling a few interviews soon and to hear more stories. ¡Hasta pronto!
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