Phyllis McGuire: Getting ready for Hay Day

WILLIAMSTOWN — When the Williamstown Historical Museum moved from the Milne Public Library into the former Little Red School House at 32 New Ashford Road, they envisioned using the spacious backyard — their first ever outdoor space — for community events.

This will become reality Aug. 19, when townspeople come together to enjoy a Hay Day Country Fair the Williamstown Historical Museum is putting on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m..

"The Williamstown Historical Museum is excited to hold its first significant event focused on the grounds at the Museum," said Sarah Currie, executive director of the Williamstown Historical Museum.

The idea for the event took root when various members of the Williamstown Historical Museum reminisced about old small country town fairs, like the Grange Fair.

Patrick Quinn, chairman of the Program and Education Committee, recalled that when he was growing up "The Lions Club held big fun events on the old Mitchell School grounds. There were contests and games, and on July 4 a major fireworks display. All the town and people outside of town were drawn to those. But we do not have anything like that anymore.

"Hay Day is a way we can use the property and provide entertainment and re-introduce ourselves to the community. Lots of people don't know us. We used to be in the center of town, but we were stuck in the back of the (Milne) library," Quinn said.

On Hay Day in the Williamstown Historical Museum's backyard, which used to serve as the Little Red School House playground, laughter will ring out again.

Sack races, three-legged races and egg/spoon races are as much fun for observers as for participants.

Though Games of Graces probably will be new to attendees, it was a popular game for girls in the 1800s. Involving hoops and crossed wooden sticks, Games of Graces was invented in France, and was supposed to promote gracefulness.

Children, however, may first run to the petting zoo, which will consist of two alpacas, a calf, a sheep, a corgi dog and a tame rabbit.

Live music will tug at heart-strings and get toes tapping. "I'll focus on old country music, such as 'Proud Mary/Johnny Be Good/I Love a Rainy Night,'" said Val Martel, who will sing and play guitar. For variety, he will also perform some rock 'n' roll and other new music.

"Boy Scouts will set up a Boy Scout camp, so people can see what it is like," said Quinn. Girl Scouts will do face painting.

If hunger strikes, no one need suffer rumbling stomach until they go home and eat. At the fair, The Store at Five Corners will provide assorted high-quality sandwiches, including turkey with roasted red pepper aioli. Buy half of a sandwich or a whole sandwich.

For home consumption, Chenail's Farm will have fresh corn and other fresh vegetables on their stand. .

At Cricket Creek Farm's stand, samples of cheese will be waiting for the taking. Cheese as well as other items Cricket Creek produces will also be available for sale.

And Norm Jolin will be there with the wooden bowls he has crafted.

The Museum will be open so people can browse the exhibits and use the restrooms.

A silent auction will also take place in the museum.

Which item will gain the most interest remains to be seen. Will it be a night's stay at the Manhattan Hotel in New York City, dinner at Mill on the Floss, Williamstown, a still life oil painting by local artist Grant Sun, a night at Cynthia Payne's Airnb in Williamstown, two ski passes to Mount Snow, or a $100 gift certificate to Flamingo Motors, Williamstown.

Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.


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