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Going back in time: Fall Family Fest comes to Riceville Homestead

Sadie Roziewski of Mayfield has a unicorn painted on her face by Marriana Mattice of Mayfield on Saturday during the Fall Family Fest at Rice Homestead in Mayfield. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

MAYFIELD — In August, the Mayfield Historical Society had to ditch its annual ice cream social, cruise-in and tours of Rice Homestead because of the weather.

Instead, the Fall Family Fest event on Saturday — serving a greater fare, plus the antique car cruise-in and tours — had excellent results.

Bob Suits, society president, was happy with the weather and the turnout.

“We never did it this time of the year, with the color of the leaves,” he said.

Some 40 cars were present for the cruise-in.

Lucy Marvain of Gloversville colors scenes from historic Rice Homestead with Tara Fitch of Beekman on Saturday during the Fall Family Fest at the homestead in Mayfield. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“People just like to see the cars and the cars they knew when they were younger,” Suits said.

“We are thrilled that we really have a large turnout,” Betsy Foster, a society member who led tours of the historic homestead, said.

“We want kids to learn local history and have a connection to the place. People are very interested in how people lived 200 years ago,” Foster said.

Just living in those days was “time consuming,” she said. “People had to make so much of what they used at home.”

“I love old houses,” said Gail Secunda of Clifton Park, who took a tour. “I find them fascinating. I imagine what it was like to live here and how far we’ve come.”

Alexis Beman of Mayfield pets Rhiannon Donde of Mayfield's bunny. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“I’m huge on the history of the area,” said Hunter Marshall of Johnstown, citing a special interest in the Revolution and Civil wars.

“They wanted to fight for something they believed in–freedom.”

Not only were visitors told how daily chores were done, such as providing food and clothing, they got to see it in action.

Betsy Tanski of Perth, a member of the Tryon Weaving Guild, illustrated how she turned wool into yarn with a spinning wheel. “Many households [in colonial times] were self-sufficient,” she said. “This was the frontier.”

Creating yarn was just the beginning. Eileen Wrightsman illustrated how women used hand looms to weave yarn into cloth. “There’s so much work and time involved,” she said.

Betsy Tanski of Perth, a member of the Tryon Weaving Guild, shows how yarn was made from wool in colonial times. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

If people wanted color in their cloths, they used plants. “A lot of plants will dye into color,” said Tanski.

Tara Fitch of Beekman said she has been coming to Rice Homestead since the first grade, and Saturday she was helping youths such as Lucy Marvain of Gloversville to color drawings of the homestead made by her grandfather, Richard Foster.

“We [her family] love it here,” she said. “It’s very relaxing, and I like the fact I’m coloring one of my grandfather’s pictures.”

The antique cars were also a draw. John Marsh of Johnstown had skeletons and other Halloween-themed decorations around his 1933 Ford three-door coupe, which he said he souped-up from the original 23 horsepower to 670.

Antique cars are lined up for viewing at a cruise-in. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Betsy Foster, a member of the Mayfield Historical Society leads a tour of historic Rice Homestead on Saturday during the Fall Family Fest. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

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