Harvest Season Highlights at Old Sturbridge Village:
Friday Night Harvest Parties with hayrides beginning September 21
Apple Days festival featuring heirloom apples September 29-30
(Sturbridge, Mass.) Sept. 10, 2012 – Old Sturbridge Village begins its celebration of the fall harvest season with a series of weekly Friday night Harvest Parties starting September 21 through Oct. 12, and the museum's annual Apple Days festival is set for Saturday and Sunday Sept. 29-30. The Friday Night Harvest Parties feature horse-drawn hayrides, a bonfire, live music, storytelling, food and beer tents, and a "Waterfire" display on the Millpond. During Apple Days, visitors can taste forgotten heirloom apple varieties and mulled cider, and see the ox-powered Cider Mill in operation. For times and details: call 800-SEE-1830 or visit www.osv.org
Friday Night Harvest Parties Sept. 21-Oct. 12
Crisp fall air and the crackle of a bonfire set the mood for these traditional tributes to the fall season. Musical entertainment will include Irish music by Full Gael and brass quintet Quintebrass, the food and beer tents will feature hot dogs, hamburgers, clam chowder, snacks, beer and other beverages. New this year is addition of Native American storytelling, and personality readings by a 19th-century style "phrenologist."
Phrenology was all the rage in 1830s, and was hailed as a science that could unlock the secrets of the human brain and determine personality traits simply by measuring the skull! Although now viewed as pop culture entertainment and glorified fortune telling, for a time phrenology was seen as serious science. Even Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, had a phrenology reading as a young woman in1839 that supposedly influenced her career.
Apple Days Sept. 29-30
With its "living collection" of heirloom apple trees, Old Sturbridge Village is one of the best places in the country to learn about and taste rare varieties of antique apples. During Apple Days, visitors can see the whole story – how apples were grown, picked, preserved, stored, and how they were used in cooking and cider-making.
In early New England, apples were an important food source all year long. Some varieties, like Baldwins and Roxbury Russets, could keep for months. Children had the important job of checking the apples stored in barrels in the root cellar, making sure that "one bad apple" did not "spoil the bunch."
Although supermarket apples today are limited to a few varieties, there were once thousands of apple varieties in North America, with distinctive tastes and colorful names like "Sheepnose," "Westfield-Seek-No-Further," and "Hubbardston Nonesuch." Thomas Jefferson favored a dessert apple called "Esopus Spitzenburg," which was discovered in Esopus, New York.
Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country. The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. OSV offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $24; seniors $22; children 3-17, $8; children 2 and under, free. Woo Card subscribers get $5 off adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive $12 off adult daytime admission. For times and details of all OSV activities visit: www.osv.org or call 1-800-SEE-1830.