Folks take step back in time at Simple Living Festival
By Jessie Burchette
Youngsters, mothers and grandmothers marveled at what they were seeing.
Pieces of furniture were being shaped, knives forged and wood shaped into bowls, owls and ducks.
There wasn’t a Dremel tool, a Sawzall or a lithium battery in use at any of the dozens of sites under the trees at Dan Nicholas Park Saturday.
“I’ve never seen this before,” Phyllis Broadway of Midland said, as she watched her granddaughter run a pedal powered device carving a spindle leg for a bench.
After a quick lesson from Tommy Tucker, her granddaughter, Meredith Johnson, didn’t want to quit.
“She’s got in the groove,” Broadway said.
Hundreds got in the groove of the Simple Living Festival Saturday, watching a “Hammer In,” featuring blacksmiths from across the state, and other craftsmen who use basic tools and skills from times gone by.
Gordon Cable, dressed in overalls and sporting a large white hat, kept his forge hot as he shaped metal.
Cable lives near Shelby and works at an international waterworks equipment company in Pineville, spending his days dealing with computers, e-mail and today’s world.
Other times, he’s swinging hammers, reshaping hot metal and creating specialized pieces.
When he paused to answer questions, visitors quickly realized he isn’t from these parts.
Coble, who grew up in Suffolk, England, started out working with a wheelwright. In his early days he had a chance to work on a carriage for Princess Anne.
Coble was delighted with the opportunity to attend the festival, telling Nature Center Supervisor Bob Pendergrass he will be back for more events at the park.
A short distance down the path, Narv Parks worked on a section of cedar log, shaping a large owls.
Parks, who created a totem pole for the park, has been carving wood for 35 years. He brought along a wide assortment of carved items including a cane made to resemble snake skin.
Among the newcomers to the simple crafts, 14-year-old Makayla Hunt showed off quilling ó shaping paper to make flowers.
She became interested after reading a brochure and began decorating cards.
Hunt demonstrated quilling while a few feet away youngsters gathered to look at turkeys and assorted animals in a pen.
At the entrance to the festival, two local men offered simple living transportation alternatives spaced a century or so apart.
Chris Hatley showed off his homemade cargo wagon, which he built from scratch.
He’s currently working on other projects including an Amish buggy and a has plans for a horsedrawn hearse.
Hatley, who is a fan of ox power, had his 15-month-old ox, Sparky, in a nearby pen. Sparky will eventually reach 2,800 to 3,000 pounds. He’s already in training, pulling sleds around Hatley’s property.
Hatley will have his wagons, horses and ox at the Gold Hill farm event on July 25.
An older model Volkswagen that had been refitted with batteries drew a lot of attention. Joe Teeter, a science teacher, showed off his conversion of the vehicle to an electric system using 12 12-volt batteries.
Teeter said there is a lot of information on the Internet that can help anyone looking to switch from gas to electricity.
The second edition of the Simple Living Festival drew a good crowd according to Parks Director Don Bringle. The craftsmen, combined with a summer-like day, filled the park.
The first festival last year got off to a wet and wild start when a storm brought heavy rain and high winds.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.