To the casual observer, Native American artifacts, fresh-squeezed apple juice and a pumpkin-throwing trebuchet might not have much to do with one another.
That was not the case Saturday, as the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace hosted its first-ever "Rakin in the Fun" fall festival. With hundreds of people circulating through the birthplace throughout the day, the event brought historical exhibits together with a bit of modern fun.
Leigh Strickland, director of the birthplace, said that site staff coordinated with the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and Governor Charles B. Aycock Birthplace advisory committee to make the day happen. With food trucks, bouncy castles and a tractor ride, there was plenty to do for those looking for something familiar.
The event also included a trebuchet constructed by site staff. While it lay dormant at the time, a swatch of pumpkin carnage extended dozens of feet in front of the tall machine told the story of several launched gourds throughout the day.
The main attractions, however, were the historical exhibits.
One of those exhibits sat in front of the main house, where Lisa Cox worked an old-fashioned apple cider press. Turning a handle to grind apples to bits, she collected the fresh juice in a gallon jug on a bench next to her. She explained the history of apples in the area, and how families would use fermented apple cider to have something to drink throughout the winter.
Behind Cox, several booths contained other historical items, several of them Native American in origin. Cathy Ammons, also known by her Coharie Indian name Wind Dancer, was one such presenter. She displayed a table -- designed as a memorial to her late son Gregory Michael Ammons, also known as Night Wolf -- covered in handcrafted Native American items, such as medicine pouches, carved shells, and other items made entirely by hand with natural materials. Several of the bags were full of tobacco and other herbs, which Ammons said are used to purify the locations of traditional Native American rituals.
Ammons is a spiritual person, she said. Getting to share her culture with people who may not have been exposed to it before was meaningful.
"Some people still don't think that Native Americans even exist," she said. "By me sharing my culture with you, we can understand each other better. Maybe you can share some of your culture with me."