By David Meade
Williamston’s newest event, a “Homestead Festival”, appeared to be a hit for people from all over the Upstate.
The event, held Saturday in Mineral Spring Park, drew an estimated 3000 visitors and featured classes, exhibitions, information and a variety of “homestead type” items for sale including seeds, honey, live birds including guineas, chickens, quail, mushrooms, books and other farm and homestead related items.
Organizer Rebecca McKinney said the park setting, music, and farm animals helped make the festival a family-friendly event.
“We were happy to see that so many people brought their children, and that instructors welcomed children into the classes. We had two beautiful girls, 8 – 10 years old, who thanked us for allowing them to take home the yarn and crochet hooks after class. That was such a small investment for the joy it gave them – and for keeping that skill alive for another generation.”
McKinney said one of the musicians who entertained during the festival, Angela Easterling, lives on a farm that’s been in her family since the 1700s. Vendor Mac McGee (Carolina Grassfed Beef) also lives on a longtime family farm, she said.
“We had people whose families literally have been farming in this area for centuries sharing their time with us.”
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 McKinney, who is Director of the SC Organization for Organic Living (SCOOL).
Classes on wire grass broommaking, raising backyard chickens and other topics had 30 to 40 participants.
There were also exhibitions on Native American hoe making (with deer antlers); fermented foods, beekeeping, solar oven use and basket making with honeysuckle vines.
“Sharing” was the theme of the day, according to McKinney.
“We had people who shared their time to do demonstrations, just because they want to show the rest of us what’s possible,” she said. “We had talented instructors who graciously shared their time and knowledge freely. We had vendors who shared the entire day with us. We had a terrific seed swap table, where people could take free seeds and leave some of their own seeds for others.”
McKinney said she thought a lot of people attending the event were “festival hopping”, going from one event to another because there were so many going on in the area.
Pictured above – Mushroom Mountain was one of the vendors at the Homestead Festival Saturday in Williamston.