Wyckoff’s Apple/Autumn Festival: A Treat For The Whole Family
By Marsha Sereno
Young and old alike had an opportunity to enjoy an Autumn Festival for the whole family at the Wyckoff House Museum on Ralph Avenue and Clarenden Road on the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd.
Co-sponsored by The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House and the Urban Park Rangers, the "Indian Summer Apple Festival" not only celebrated the harvesting of the delicious fruit, but opened a window to the past and took visitors on a colorful journey down memory lane as well.
Supervised by museum Assistant Administrator Michael Schwartz, visitors participated in the tedious process of cider making, and enjoyed tasting the "fruits of their labors"... a cup of fresh pressed apple cider. An additional treat was a table loaded with a variety of home baked "goodies" featuring the celebrated apple. Demonstrations by craftsmen created a living history lesson for all. White Cooper Norm Peterson worked on a variety of wood projects and explained the difference between the three types of Coopers: The Tight Cooper (creator of barrels that would contain liquids), The Slack Cooper (creator of barrels that would contain solids such as foodstuffs) and the White Cooper (who created buckets, tubs, butter chums and household items out of wood) Artisan Arthur Kirmss not only taught visitors about WAMPUM, the monetary means of exchange used by the Indians, he also crafted some right in front of their eyes. Using reproductions of antique tools, Mr. Kirmss cut, sanded and created lovely beads (WAMPUM) from bits of purple and white clam shells.
Urban Park Rangers Sheridan Roberts and Johanna Freeman taught visitors about the intricacies of Indian trail marking. Youngsters were given a printed sheet that described the significance of each marking and were then encouraged to follow the trail that had been marked. At the end of the trail, each "trail blazer" who successfully traversed the trail received a card entitling him to have his face (and hands and behind as well!) painted with the Indian symbols of his choice.
The strains of lively Caribbean music played by the Sesame Flyers Steel Drum Youth Band added to the festive atmosphere of the event.
Led by handler Elie Tabanpour, Marzipan, a pony from Kensington stables, delighted youngsters by patiently allowing them to ride her around the Wyckoff Homestead. Parents, eagerly capturing the moment on film, seemed to enjoy the experience as much as their young ones. Visitors to the Wyckoff House Museum voiced their approval of the opportunity for a look back at simpler times.
Information about the Wyckoff House Museum and its upcoming programs can be obtained by calling (718) 629-5400.