07/11/04 — Summerfest at Waynesborough brings fun with a historical flavor

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Summerfest at Waynesborough brings fun with a historical flavor

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on July 11, 2004 2:02 AM

Gunpowder smoke blasted out of a cannon Saturday in Waynesborough Historical Village, hanging heavily in the humid air before wrapping around a small band of soldiers.

"We're going for two-second intervals," yelled one of the gunners, right before a thunderous boom shattered the quiet atmosphere of the park.

Wade Harris, a 2nd lieutenant provost marshal from Virginia, said it wasn't uncommon to have about 100 of the "little gun" cannons in a line during a battle.

"The smoke, especially on a still day, would be tremendous," Harris said. "The soldiers had to study the topography in order to carry it out."

The beauty of the little cannon, Harris explained, was that it could be taken apart and loaded on pack horses.

"The big cannon took 10 horses to pull," he said. "So the little gun was valuable, especially in the mountains."

The cannon fire and the staged shootout between Confederate and Yankee soldiers at Old Waynesborough Saturday afternoon was not a Civil War re-enctment, Harris said.

"This country has never had a civil war," he said. "This is a re-enactment for Southern Independence. This was a separate country that was invaded."

But all that invaded Old Waynesborough Saturday was a variety of fun and old-fashioned activities including apple bobbing, tug-of-war, watermelon eating and a seed spitting contest.

It was all part of the 11th annual three-day Summerfest.

In the early afternoon a group of bluegrass music lovers gathered in front of a small stage to hear the plaintive sounds of the Wayco Ramblers.

Sweltering temperatures kept people clustered under trees, fanning themselves in the shade while scooping melting ice-cream out of paper cups.

Kids purposefully let go of the rope when playing tug-of-war, so they could end up splashing in the cool water of an inflatable pool.

Rocky the mule pulled himself away from munching hay on the tailgate of a white pickup truck, to perform a few tricks for the crowd.

"I wanna see him dance," hollered one woman, getting close to the fence.

"He don't like to dance," replied James Lamm, Rocky's owner. "But he loves to kiss."

The woman stepped away from the fence.

A wagon, full of ice-cold watermelons, bounced into the grassy area next to the General Store around 2 p.m. Children crowded around the picnic table to participate in the water melon eating contest.

Ten-year-old Meghan Johnston of Goldsboro finished her icy melon first, but the table was full of earnest youngsters slurping down the sweet juicy fruit.

Shelton Smith was the proprietor of the old-fashioned General Store, serving up ice-cold bottled Cokes. The store offered an array of simple candies and handmade toys, civil war pamphlets, Confederate hats, Old Waynesborough T-shirts and specialty dolls.

But it was the rotating fan beside the long counter that drew customers, as they cooled off slightly before heading out in the afternoon heat.

Smith said the village is always on the lookout for historical items.

"If anybody's got any items, large or small, we'd be interested," he said. "Anything pertaining to old homesteads, farming, or clothing."

Sunday's activities will begin at 10 a.m. and include a Civil War-style church service at 11 a.m.

For more information about the village call 731-1653.