A brief history of the Woodrow Farm Day event
(Save the date for this year: July 15, 2023)
by Patricia Turnour
To view the original article and others visit the Cottage Shack magazine.
Reflecting upon the past gives us the determination to begin anew.
Our most popular celebration, the annual Heritage Day, once known as Olde Tymes Day, has a new name: Woodrow Farm Day. Through this change we honour the pioneer family who settled the museum property. Our overall “farming” theme recognizes the hard work and determination of all the folks who braved the wilds of what we now know as Canada. The Woodrow family certainly fits this bill.
Looking back at the many memories we have shared over 40 plus years of this special event, it is easy to see that it has annually been the highlight of our summer.
The day’s activities used to begin with an inter-denominational church service and hymn sing. The tranquil location beside the Coldwater River provided such a wonderful setting that local churches did not hold services in-house, but instead invited all worshippers to come to the museum. Ministers, organists and choir members took turns hosting the event. One was moved to tears as together we sang Amazing Grace in this serene, historic place.
Following the church service we enjoyed a lunch of hamburgers, sausages, salads and homemade pies. We are now partnered with the Coldwater Lions Club, who will be providing the repast this year.
On the lawn, by the entrance to the homestead, our museum president and I, as curator, formally greet the assembled guests. Local dignitaries welcome visitors and offer their best wishes.
Over the years we have used this opportunity to share with our community many of our accomplishments and future plans. This year we have a very special announcement to celebrate. Watch this space!
Our entire site will be abuzz with music, demonstrations and activities for all ages. Children will enjoy everything from face painting, crafts and games to the old-fashioned schoolhouse experience. A singsong and puppetry will entertain young and old alike.
For many years, Herb and Helen Black brought their loveable sheep and were assisted by some enthusiastic 4-H members. We hope to continue to attract local farmers and their livestock. We love having a huge variety of chickens and some miniature horses graced our mini-fall fair last fall.
Typically, one of our “resident” farmers, Doug Binns tows around various pieces of vintage equipment. He is regularly seen on our 1950 Ford 8N tractor pulling our 1930s hay loader. Our threshing machine, seed drill, road grader and hay tedder would also be observed taking a spin around the property. The Ramara Historical Society also brings interesting farm implements for display and demonstration.
Our eager co-op students are busy all around the grounds giving guided tours to guests. However, many guests prefer to simply wander the grounds on their own, at their leisure. And that is perfectly okay.
A “must see” is the re-enacter. His tents, equipment and costume reflect a by-gone era. He camps on the site for two days. The life of a 19th century land surveyor is one of the roles he portrays.
Through the years we also have hosted car groups, motorcycle clubs, steam engine enthusiasts and blacksmith demonstrations. Although some activities come and go, we remain true to our agricultural and historical roots.
What this very special event will look like in the future is impossible to predict. But we have optimistically penciled in the date of July 15, 2023. Perhaps it will have a new-fashioned twist on an old-fashioned favourite. So, save the date!