By Julie Obermiller
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
NEWFANE — An apple a day may keep the doctor away and the apple blossoms of Niagara County are cause for celebration. Sunday’s Apple Blossom Festival will lure hundreds of visitors to step back in time to the good old days.
The Newfane Historical Society’s annual event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the museum grounds at the corner of West Creek and Ide roads. Admission and parking are free, and families can while away a sunny afternoon perusing everything from antique tractors to a Civil War encampment.
Visitors can view the farm village museum-barbershop, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith, and more. An 1800’s Print Shop is being developed by the Newfane Historical Society. A 10 x 15 Chandler & Price Letterpress from 1891 is being restored to working operation and there will be a hands-on teaching press so visitors can see how things were printed more than a century ago. The society is working toward a collection of working heritage presses and an interpretive display on the history of printing.
The Civil War encampment is always a big attraction, and will be manned throughout the event.
Forget the classic cars, although there will be some there. The big attraction is the mighty tractors that have done the farming in our communities for decades. A gleaming green John Deere from the 1940’s is as lovingly polished as an old cadillac. Many offerings will be from members of the Western New York Two Cylinder Club, an organization made up of people interested in promoting the interest of the public in preservation and restoration of antique tractors, particularly the John Deere Two Cylinder models, their accessories, lore, and literature.
There will be crafters, of course, demonstrating specialties of old in the large tent, such as chair-caning, basket weaving, barrel making and more. You may find lovely jewelry or ladies’ crafts, and you’ll want to make a visit to the Yarb House, Burt Post Office or Country Store.
You won’t be hungry for long if you work up an appetite strolling the grounds. One of the traditions of the Apple Blossom Festival is the giant pot of Art Gladow’s chicken chowder. Kevin Luckman has taken over the chowder-making, but the recipe is Art’s. Bring a container to purchase some to take home. You’ll find beef on weck, hot dogs, salt potatoes, sausage with peppers and onions, ribs, cotton candy and popcorn.
The heavenly scent of simmering apple butter may leave you wanting to take a jar or two home for your toast. Watch it being made on site.
The Historical Society also operates the Van Horn Mansion, 2165 Lockport-Olcott Road, Burt, which will be open for guided tours from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
The volunteers of the Newfane Historical Society have preserved a wealth of history to share with new generations. Pack up your family and live some history this weekend.
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