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Hope Heritage Days re-creates pioneer setting

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HOPE — The clanging sound of an iron forge hung in the air as two determined boys struggled with the back-and-forth motion of a two-man saw.

This is how the pioneers did it in the old days, with one grown man pulling while another across from him pushed until the job was done.

“I wouldn’t have liked it,” admitted Nathaniel John, 10, of Newbern, after he and his sawing buddy cut off the tip of a wooden pole.

As part of the 45th annual Hope Heritage Days in downtown Hope, the Pioneer Village Saturday also featured Native American storytelling, games for children and adults, artisan demonstrations and a petting zoo for the kids.

And that was just part of the fun. Hundreds of adults and children Saturday perused the food and merchandise booths that circled the town square, while others greeted friends or stopped to have their faces painted.

Hope Heritage Days, put on annually by Heritage of Hope, concludes today with the God & Country Rally at Hope Moravian Church.

The free Pioneer Village was a tip of the hat to pioneer times. A blacksmith pounded metal into different designs and showed others how to perform the art.

A woman dressed in period garb fed wool into a wheel to make yarn.

A girl of Native American descent shared stories about her ancestors.

Rosemary Trotter showed Mellissa Patton, 10, of Hope, how to knit with large nails. Scarves and other knitted items rested at the other end of the table, as proof that it could be done.

“The nails are a good size for the hands,” said Trotter, whose grandmother taught her the art of knitting when Trotter was a child.

Each time Patton ran into trouble, Trotter reached over the girl’s shoulders to guide her hands and to teach proper techniques.

Donna Joe Copeland of Morrisville spoke to the people who gathered around her as she made yarn out of her own sheep’s wool.

Her fingers twisted the wool effortlessly as the wheel gathered the wool onto wooden spools.

Copeland said she does this kind of thing for a living. She does about 15 events like Hope Heritage Days each year, she said, and always sells the items that she creates.

Ayana Young, 13, shared some of the highlights of Native American’s history in this country to people who stopped by.

Dressed in Native American garb with her hair in braids, she talked about how her ancestors made arrows, started fires and used their wits to survive in a harsh world.

The two-man saw was among the most popular activities Saturday.

Ed Johnson, of Hope, who owns the saw and manned the saw station, said he collects antiques and loves the look on children’s faces as they try out the life of a pioneer.

He demonstrated a wealth of patience as children — some far too small for such a task — tripped and grunted as they struggled to make even a dent in the log.

“They can stay for as long as they want,” he said.

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