New Homestead festival to offer classes, exhibitions

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A new “Homestead Festival” will be held this Saturday, October 5 in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. The event will feature classes, exhibitions, information and a variety of items for sale from upstate vendors.

The purpose of the new festival is to get people interested in becoming more self-sufficient and to provide classes for both experienced and new homesteaders, said SCOOL Director and festival organizer Rebecca McKinney. “It also is a way for our local farmers and homesteading experts to showcase what they do.”

The one day festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will begin with a farmers market at 8 a.m., followed by a Yoga in the Park class at 9 a.m., and other activities and classes scheduled throughout the day.

Classes will include wiregrass broom making; black soldier fly larvae bin construction (used to feed chickens, ducks and fish); blending an all-natural insect repellant from essential oils; raising backyard chickens; and building a mason bee nesting site from bamboo. Attendees will have takeaways from many of these classes, McKinney said.

There will also be a seed swap table to encourage people to garden and save seeds.

There will be exhibitions on Native American hoe making (with deer antlers); fermented foods (kimchi, kombucha, etc.); beekeeping (with an observation hive); jewelry making from recycled/repurposed materials; solar oven use (built by a professor at Clemson); and basket making with honeysuckle vines.

The Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership group (Greenville County) will have an Ag Simulator for the kids. They will also have treats.Other Children’s activities are also planned.

Vendors include Mushroom Mountain, the Booksmith (Seneca), Heavenly Seed, Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery, Appalachian Organics, and many others.

The SC Organization for Organic Living (SCOOL) will be sponsoring the festival in conjunction with the town of Williamston. SCOOL hosts a statewide Organic Growing Conference each March.

“We decided to initiate a new fall event this year and make it free for attendees and vendors. Classes also are free, with the exception of materials in some cases (although we are trying to find a way to cover those expenses, too,” McKinney said.