Hanford Mills was buzzing Saturday with several community groups representing a variety of historical interests during the inaugural Community Celebration.
Under a large tent near the mill pond at the East Meredith site, eight booths offered information about topics from soap making to area history. The Meredith Historical Society and Greater Oneonta Historical Society had items for sale as well as information concerning exhibits, membership and activities their museums offer.
Farm Catskills, a nonprofit organization encouraging community farms, was represented by the organization’s president Sonia Janiszewski.
“We are here to help explain about the importance of local farming — both historically and why it is important today,” Janiszewski said. “Buying local produce helps the economy as well as the family who benefits from minimally processed food.”
The Delaware County Historical Association set up a display under its own tent. Samantha Misa, dressed in a Civil War period uniform said she enjoys reenacting the role of a mid-1800s era woman, dressed as a man, who enlisted in the Union Army.
“There are several accounts of women who chopped off their hair and bound their chests and joined the army,” Misa said. “One account has an officer discovering that one of his soldiers was a women. He kept her secret because, he said, she fought so well. A lot of times you hear that the women who fought were like hellcats.”
The festival was part of the statewide Path Through History program, according to a media release from the mill.
“The story of Hanford Mills is tied to the story of East Meredith, so this festival is a chance to celebrate this shared history,” Executive Director Liz Callahan explained in the release. “In addition, this event is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the resources and organizations throughout our region.”
Joining the historical organizations were several artisan groups. Meadow Brook Maple sold maple syrup and displayed a chart showing step-by-step how the maple syrup is tapped and reduced.