Summer of 2016 Wrap-up

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Well, I think it’s pretty much written…a future career as a blog writer I do not have. But I have an excuse! I really do! This year was B-U-S-Y…busier in fact than last year! Which was the busiest year to date, so really, you could say that this year was the busiest year ever! So, I definitely wanted to make sure I at least took some time while it was quieting down this fall to do a re-cap for you all because I am terrible at being a consistent writer!


Blossom Fest:

Ahhh yes…the great parade of 2016…the year we had not one, but TWO tractors gallivanting down the street. K, Tammy was gallivanting, I was trying to keep enough of a distance so as not to hit Tammy while she was doing weaves and circles around the street! The couple weeks before Skip had been working on the Gibson’s tractor we have…this little bare, awkward looking thing that you would totally pass by as an odd scrap lawn ornament if you didn’t know any better! It doesn’t have a steering wheel, but instead a lever…one to control the direction of the wheels, and one for the little plough that is on the front. To say Tammy had a blast practically doing donuts down the street in her overalls would not be exaggerating.

I got to drive the red 1952 Massey Harris Pacer tractor! I love driving that thing, it is so much fun! Unfortunately, to drive it means to accept that you will have a VERY big cramp in your hand…you see; the timing lever won’t hold itself after a certain ways, so to go at anything akin to…um…moving, you have to hold it. But it is quite the time once you get it up to road speed! That red tractor was super popular among the crowd…from toddlers to seniors! or maybe they just liked my hat? Who could tell, we’ll give the credit to the tractor though.


Kids Day

Ahhhh yes…you know the story. At least I hope you do. If you don’t, here is your assigned homework.

This year seemed a little quieter than last year. It seems like the last couple of years, Mother Nature has chosen one of our events to pick on and make difficult. Last year was the Evening in the Courtyard, and this year it was the Kids Day.

Thats ok though! Quality over quantity I say!

It wasn’t really that bad. We actually had some of our guests stay quite a while! They made sure they got the most out of the scavenger hunt booklet…and the Barbershop station; every year it surprises me how popular that one is, even though it really shouldn’t. Children, mucky shaving cream…what could be a more consuming activity?

Well, children and mud…but this is close enough. And cleaner. So parents don’t hate us. Cuz we want them to come back. That’s kind of important.






Weekly Programs:

As with any new programs, they can take a little bit to get going. Well, this year they certainly geared up! So what all was going on?

Pioneer Lessons

This one is honestly one of my favourites, most likely because I just really enjoy most of these activities anyways! So once a week, participants (we welcome both children AND adults), gather in our adorable little homestead building to learn what would of been basic life skills for the families who first made our area home. This summer we covered herbs and their uses, learned about the foods offered through valley foraging, did some baking (mini pies filled, of course-with local fruit) the hard way! -we MADE the butter for our crust!!-…learned to stitch on a button, even did some orienteering!  All in all, I’d say our visitors had quite a good time, and they did pretty great job too! Who knows, maybe they could go and homestead themselves!




Lessons in the Schoolhouse

yeeeeeesssssss……Lessons in the Schoolhouse….when we lure unsuspecting children into thinking they want to come and participate in school like activities when they are doing everything in their power to avoid school like activities for their 2 month hiatus…

heh. heh. heh.

But difference is we make it fun. Because it’s always more fun in a 103 year old one room school house where you get to draw with chalk and your teacher is wearing old fashioned clothing.

Pupils learn skills such as cursive writing, flags and their meanings (including colours, symbols, etc), spelling, learn about Prime Ministers…all in the most fun and engaging ways we could possibly come up with! and possibly bribery. that is never ruled out. Of course we don’t turn down parents if they would like to engage in a friendly little competition!


Art History Bus Tour

This was one of two bus tours we have offered over the last few years. In the Art History Tour, we will escort you around the historic districts of town, sometimes even accompanied by a time travelling guide (technology these days!), who will give you the low down of how the town has changed, aided by some beautiful pictures of the town from as far back as 1900. We then check out one of the outlying communities, such as Wynndel, Erickson, or Alice Siding, and even visit a prominent artist from the area!

So you’re gonna wanna gather your friends, because now you will be the coolest friend because you have connections to time travelers.

Your welcome.

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Orchard History Bus Tour

K so this one is equally as cool as the Art History Tour, because we play a game, not unlike ‘Game of Life’, except 1900’s orchard-ized in our large Agri-Shed!

Participants are walked through the process of starting up a pioneer orchard in the Creston Valley in the early 1900’s, all the way from the area you will purchase your property in, to what you want to plant, Mono-cropping or Diversification (um…eggs in one basket, or not), sprays, natural disasters, marketing…all of it!! So by the end of it, you will either succeed, break even, or…well…not do so great. After we are finished with that,  everyone gets into the vehicle and off we go to a local orchard to check out the behind the scenes of the operation!

The orchardists are pretty fantastic, you will have lots of opportunity to ask questions, and even pick some fruit to keep! We noticed this one was most popular with city and prairie families. I guess it’s kind of easy to take for granted, having lived the entirety of my memory-holding life here. But we love seeing people learn more about what kind of impact the industry can have on a community and where their food came from… seeing the reactions are really fun at Wloka Farms where the owners use ALL the produce they grow, including the funny shaped and twisty ones, not just the pretty ones!

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Annual Afternoon Tea

This is probably the event we are best known for. Each year we host a tea, featuring dainties, refreshments, and even a short skit performed by the local drama group ‘Footlighters’. The theme for this year was…wait for it… HOBOS!!! Thats right. Hard times tea…Depression Era. So fancy dresses were not exactly a part of this tea. Did we mention we served your snacks in mason jars? So much fun! Unfortunately, the 2016 curse seemed to strike at this years tea, the attendance wasn’t exactly at a historic high like we have experienced over the last couple years. So we want to see you here with bells on next year!!




Evening in the Courtyard

Second Annual!! This year was an exceptional turnout. Last year for this event was…well…tricky. Between the forest fires smoking out the valley, and the massive storm 4 hours before the start, only the brave enjoyed the spoils. WELL! LET ME TELL YA.

This year?

AWESOME!!! Out of the 50 available tickets, we sold about 40. But my favourite part, was that the age range of the attendance was soooo varied! Everywhere from sr senior citizens, to couples just a year or two older than me! (so…mid 20’s 😉 )

The premise of Evening in the Courtyard is where we do kind of a one stop for local food/drink appreciation, and watch a movie projected outside in our courtyard. The cherry on top was during drinks hour, we had a live acoustic performance by recording artist Emma Kade. What a way to set an atmosphere! For the movie, we chose Ma & Pa Kettle…you really didn’t stop laughing through the whole thing! All told, it was a BEAUTIFUL evening. Some of the contributors this year:

Baillie-Grohman Winery

Skimmerhorn Winery

William Tell (non-alcoholic cider)

Truscott Farms

Wloka Farms

Treasure Life Mills

Swan Valley Honey

The Pickle Patch

Kootenay Alpine Cheese

Creston Valley Bakery

Golden Flour Bakery

Root & Vine Acres

Overwaitea Foods

All told, the summer absolutely flew by, and although some of our events didn’t have quite the showing that we usually do, our visitor attendance was literally the highest we have ever had! 1972 for just tours alone as of the end of August, Including events 2975, add another 700 for research/school groups etc…and keep in mind, we didn’t have the September slump that we usually experience either! So what are we up to now? Well…we are in the middle of installing a new storage system! So everything in the archives building, over the last two or so months, has been sorted, categorized, and potentially even purged. Since it took me sooooo long to get this post written out, I’ll do my best to get the next one going a little sooner 😉