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Festifall at Walnut Grove

 Every year the Spartanburg County Historical Association hosts a two day historical reenactment at Walnut Grove Plantation in Roebuck, South Carolina. This was the home of Charles and Mary Moore; it was built in 1765. During Festifall, hundreds of reenactors camp out for two nights and share their expertise of what life was like during the 18th century. Spinning wool into yarn was a simple, but time-consuming process.

Spinning wool into yarn was a simple, but time-consuming process.

Dressed in their colonial costumes, they will both explain and answer questions about their activities. In front of this lady are the dyed skeins of yarn.

Besides dressing their parts, the blacksmith will be making hinges and nails at his forge. Broom making, basket weaving, and buckets and barrels made by the cooper are all demonstrated.

No, this dachshund was not dressed for battle. Its owner did have her dressed up for the occasion though. The dog posed well for pictures, but only at a distance. Her attire brought in her own personal audience.

This is a small spinning wheel that was portable. In comparing it to the chair, you can see how handy this was for the housewife.

Carding was an important step in the making of cloth. After the shearing of the wool, it was cleaned with these carders. The metal combs took out any twigs or burrs.

This handcrafted wagon would have been used for hauling corn or any other similar task. At this point the children were enjoying playing with it.

As author and illustrator of Courageous Kate and Fearless Martha, we also chose to dress as my protagonists would have dressed. Besides selling my books, John cut silhouettes of the children.

There is a reenactment of the skirmish that actually took place at Walnut Grove in the fall of 1781. The roar of muskets is loud, and the reality hits home as we see “soldiers” fall to the ground. Because of the militia arriving in time, the house was not burned to the ground, even though lives were lost.

As you can see from the smoke, there is reality to this battle.

There is contrast all over the grounds during these two days. I saw men, women, and children going about daily tasks as they worked hard to put food on the table, take care of crops and animals, see to their family’s needs, and fight a war for independence at the same time.

These militiamen are mustering together. Just as they would have been dressed during the Revolutionary War, these Patriots wore their regular clothes. They had no uniforms, but the military drills were serious.

Walter Edgar quoted in his book, Partisans and Redcoats, that a “man’s best friend was his rifle.” Those rifles were never far away from their owners.

During the eighteenth century, children dressed like adults.

There was never a moment of idle time during this century. Meals took a long time to prepare, whether it was in a home in the fireplace or outside over an open flame. Mending was an endless task, and because each person had few clothes, they had to be kept in wearable condition.

The cars in the distance certainly don’t seem to belong to this fireside scene, but it is part of the spell that is Festifall as you step back in time and see first hand how our ancestors lived. Visitors come back every year, because there is so much to see. If you have never visited Walnut Grove Plantation, I encourage you to put it on your list for next year.
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