Sunday, August 23, 2009

At the Exhibition

Despite the fact that we are in the midst of Paint the Town and I can hear Hurricane Bill blowing in the background, these are not the topic of this post. No doubt my next post will deal with what I have been jokingly calling Paint the Hurricane. Today's post is about the trip that I took to the Annapolis Valley Exhibition earlier this week. I figured that a sunny Friday afternoon with the family in Lawrencetown was a good way to spend a bit of time away from work.

Those of you who have been reading for a while will know that I am fond of events which mix heritage themes into contemporary activities. What I enjoy about the exhibition is that time seemingly stands still. I enjoy strolling through a fairgrounds, looking at the animals, displays of vegtables, pies and other assorted items as much as I did when I was five. It is nice to see that the skills and passions are passed from one generation to the next. I enjoy knowing that the work we do to preserve and promote heritage has a larger place within the community. There is perhaps no single activity which does this more than an exhibition (or county fair if you prefer).

At this type of event our community's agrarian roots are clearly on display. Some of the activities at the exhibition clearly have their origins in the pre-industrial world. When we were there on Friday we were able to watch draft horses as well as the horse and oxen pulls. While these activities are now relegated to the exhibition, they were once essential activities in daily life. Draft horses pulled the wagons and carriages which hauled people and goods around the countryside. Oxen, as I have previously mentioned, were vital to the economic viability of this region in the ninteenth century. It is nice to see these animals working as they would have over 100 years ago.

The Valley Exhibition also has a small agricultural museum located on site. Many of these tools are strangely familiar from my days of working as an interpreter at Upper Canada Village. I have actually had the opportunity to operate equipment like the fanning mill which is seen in this post. For those who have not operated one of these machines before, a fanning mill is used to seperate wheat from chaff. I took this particular photograph since this is such an excellent example of equipment made in the late nineteenth century. The hand painted decoration is not something that we see on machines made today. This decoration takes this artifact from being simply a utilitarian piece and makes it a piece of folk art. You can imagine the craftsman taking painstaking efforts to make sure that the scroll work was exactly as he wanted it.

While the Exhibition is over for another year, the volunteers who put this event on do deserve a great vote of thanks. Now, I need to gather my camera and thoughts and struggle out into the rain to deal with my volunteer stint at Paint the Hurricane.

All for now,

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