Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Summer Is A Comin' In

You know the season is about to change in Prescott when the booths go up at the Square or at the Sharlot Hall museum grounds. Another weekend, another fair! Until September. I fear that large numbers of the locals go into hiding about this time.

But this past weekend saw my absolute most favorite of the tourist festivities -- the Annual Folk Arts Fair over at Sharlot Hall. My husband and I always called it the "biscuit" fair because one feature is an exhibit with women and men in pioneer costumes churning butter and baking biscuits over an open fire in a Dutch oven.

(My mom had a Dutch oven -- but she always used it for stews and such like. And I always wondered how come it was called an oven! Now I know.)

It's probably my own perverseness, but the reason I am so fond of the Folk Arts is that it is a reminder of how people survived in this country before SUVs, malls, air conditioning and fast food.
And Toys R Us. This little girl is learning how to make a corn husk doll.

While this kid tries his hand at gold panning. Not the subject for a Folk Arts Fair in, say, Iowa or Florida. But eminently suitable for Prescott, where it is not unusual to run into armed prospectors out in the woods. (More on that in a later blog...)

Last Sunday, sheep were shorn, baskets were woven, rugs were hooked, horse shoes smithed (did I get that verb right?). There were ladies in layers of calico, men in old Western garb or Civil War uniforms and even children in old fashioned dress. Plus music and dancing.

And this reminder of how woman's work was never done.

It hasn't been that long, really, since washday involved these instruments of torture. In my childhood, wringers were still in use, though there were washing machines. And, yes, washboards were not that uncommon.

I recall that when we moved from Phoenix to Jacksonville, Florida, we hired a washer woman, who arrived once a week, carrying her buckets and her charcoal for boiling the clothes.

Between you and me, I like it better these days!

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