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Living History Park to hold family-friendly Christmas events

  • Thursday, November 28, 2013

Star file photo Jon Mathrole, a colonial-era re-enactor from Society Hill, provides some hands-on lessons on various items (including the salt shaker in his hand) that would have been a part of many American households in the mid-18th century. Mathrole was among participants in a previous “Christmas in the Backcountry.”

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The Living History Park will be the site for local residents to celebrate Christmas in a colonial, 18th-century fashion.


Christmas in the Backcountry and Christmas for the Birds will both be held soon at the park. Both events are free to the public and offer less expensive alternatives to celebrate the holiday.


Christmas in the Backcountry will be held on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park Chair Lynn Thompson said residents can learn how colonists and slaves observed Christmas in the backcountry.


“Christmas in the 18th century was very simple,” Thompson said. “People were really into socializing and family, so we'll have Father Christmas who will be bringing treats for the kids and the military will talk about its role during the holidays.”


Thompson said she is expecting about 75 percent of guests to be from out of town. Guests will be treated to hot chocolate, apple cider and snicker doodle cookies. In addition, patrons can purchase inexpensive gifts such as Colonial earrings and other handmade items. Also for purchase will be grits made from an old-fashioned mill.


Both Thompson and Father Christmas feel the event is more about family and friends and less about expensive gifts.


“We have a lot of people with kids who were tired of shopping and can't always afford to buy a lot of gifts,” Thompson said. “So this is a positive family event that doesn't cost a whole bunch of money.”


Father Christmas added, “I will be bringing candy canes for my visitors, and will be available for photos by parents. The low-key emphasis will be on the joys of sharing Christmas with the gifts of presence, not presents.”


The following Saturday, on Dec. 7, the park will host Christmas for the Birds. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Thompson said the event will feature opportunities for create edible decorations for birds including apples, oranges and peanut butter for pinecones. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring pet food to donate to local pet adoption centers and shelters.


“This event will teach our kids and adults how to give back to nature,” Thompson added. “We'll also have various opportunities for local Girl Scouts. All of the kids can come and make different ornaments that they can take home. So there's a little something for everybody.”


For more information, inquirers can visit www.colonialtimes.us or call 803-279-7560.


Sponsors for the events include Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Wild Birds Unlimited, City of North Augusta and the Aiken County Council & Accommodations Tax Advisory Board.


Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.


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