Students have blast at Swiss Heritage Village education day

Authored by Jim Langham on Sep 12, 2011

The cannon firing at the annual educational day at Swiss Heritage Village on Friday morning got the attention of over 1,500 students who arrived from area school systems for a full slate of activities carried out by a large group of volunteers who assisted with everything from teaching school to milking goats.
You didn't have to tell students from Willard Elementary School in Winchester that the cannon echoed through the trees in the Swiss Heritage forest and the houses of the north end of Berne.
"I liked the way the cannon made the loud sound all day," said Winchester fourth grader Isabelle Horn. "I really enjoyed making candles. I was interested to hear about the way people used to live. I don't think I would like to live like that."
Other Randolph Central students such as Stacy Cox, Makayla Cole and Denae Anderson enjoyed the field activities such as the swings and the rope ladder.
"It was really fun," said Anderson. "I liked the Indian part."
The soap making and also the cannons fascinated Brandon McIntire, a fourth grader from Portland.
"Everything was really interesting but I liked the goat milking," observed McIntire. "I thought that the blacksmith was the most interesting. I think that life was interesting back then but I wouldn't want to live without electricity."
Sherri McIntire, a seventh grade teacher at East Jay Middle School, served as a chaperone for the day. She was very impressed with the organization and education material available for the day.
"There are so many activities," said McIntire. "They really keep the kids actively engaged. It gives them a chance to see what things work like in a different period of life around here. People are so friendly and patient."
"It was fantastic and good to be here," noted Colton Herriford. "It's really fun. I loved all of the activities."
On Saturday, the adult world and families moved in for another time of games, food, music and exhibits.
Swiss Village executive director Doug Milligan was quick to praise his large staff of volunteers for once again making the Swiss Heritage Festival a success.
"It's unbelievable how much work goes in behind the scenes for our volunteers to make this the success that it is," said Milligan. "These people arrive early and work hard all day. I can't say enough about our dedicated staff of workers that makes this possible."
This year, another activity will be combining with the Swiss Heritage Festival weekend. Festival officials left the entertainment tent standing to accommodate a fund-raising auction on Tuesday evening.
Milligan said that a large number of excellent items of great value have been donated by area businesses to feed the fundraiser. In addition, those attending will have the opportunity to place tickets in a drawing that will conclude with a $100 gas card for the winner.
According to Milligan, the tent will be open at 3 p.m. for inspection of items.
Milligan noted that all money raised in the auction would go towards satisfying $56,862 in needs at the village and museum. Among those areas that need to be addressed are repairs in the museum and gift shop, repairs in the school house, replacing damage at the Luginbill House/Summer Kitchen, replacing the door with new frame and hardware at the doctor's office, replacing siding and repairing windows at the cheese house and repairing the Boy Scout meeting room.
Milligan noted that the total cost for all repairs is $92,862 but $36,000 to date has already been collected from donors.
"We have to maintain and restore the historic look," said Milligan. "We have got to make sure that we keep the heritage significance of all of our grounds and buildings. We need to do all that we can to match the age in which the building was constructed. It costs money to do this; we need to accomplish this now before the disrepair gets any worse.
"We are excited about the way that the community has gotten into this," said Milligan. "Our heritage is so important to the people of this community. We are looking for a great weekend in all ways. The people of this community are so generous in keeping the past alive so that our heritage can live for generations to come."

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