Christmas event at history park gives glimpse of past

  • Thursday, December 5, 2013

Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers John Douglas, left, demonstrates how to use a toy to Karl Moore and his son Frank, 7.


On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Living History Park took Christmas back to the 16th century.

The park’s annual Christmas in the Backcountry showed the simplicity of the holiday season in the days of old.

“This event shows people how Christmas was during the time right before and after the Revolutionary War,” Brenda Bancroft, vice president of the Olde Towne Preservation Association, said. “It brings people back to how Christmas was during the simpler times.”

The event, which Bancroft estimates had as many as 500 visitors, featured homemade food items, gifts and toys of the era.

“I enjoy showing my toys to children of all ages,” John Douglas, a toy exhibitor at Christmas in the Backcountry, said. “The adults and the children love to see the older items. The children want to see how they work, and the adults look and see the toys they may have played with when they were growing up.”

Douglas had 10 toys in his display, including some toys from Russia. Showing the toys of the past allowed Douglas to teach the children about how life was in the 16th century, when toys were scarce and made by hand.

“This event, it gives the children an opportunity to see what life was like in the past,” he said. “They see toys that someone had to carve by hand. Sometimes kids got only one toy a year. It’s a lot different than how things are done today.”

The toys Douglas displayed at the Living History Park were popular for families, as young children were able to test out the older toys and see what their grandparents may have played with.

“The toys were a big hit for my kids,” Gordon Spivey said. “Everything today is battery powered and complex, but these toys are simple. They remind me of the toys I used to play with at my grandma’s house. It’s a good thing for my kids to experience.”

Christmas in the Backcountry brought crowds from all over the area, according to Bancroft.

“One of the main things about this event is that people get to show their relatives from out of town our park,” she said. “They are proud of what we have going on here and want to show it off. We’ve had visitors from Lexington and Gaffney who came to North Augusta just for this event. I’ve asked them if they were in the area and they’ve told me they came to North Augusta just for the Living History Park.”

Bancroft said the park is able to draw people in who are in town for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We thought it was important to have this event after Thanksgiving,” she said. “I’m thankful for this park and the people who help us out all year. This event helps us show just how thankful we are.”

The Living History Park, located at 299 W. Spring Grove Ave., will host Christmas for the Birds on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.

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