Homestead to Celebrate Lost Arts Festival

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A volunteer in period costume blacksmiths at the John R. Park Homestead.

Essex – Essex Region Conservation is providing an opportunity to become immersed in maker culture. Join the John R. Park Homestead and over 40 local artisans and demonstrators for the annual Lost Arts Festival, a unique and family-friendly event to see and experience different forms of artisanship from years gone by.

The event, which will be hosted on Sunday, August 12 from Noon to 4pm, has been running since the 1980s. This year, the Homestead invites you to participate in a day of doing things the old-fashioned way in celebration of its 40th anniversary as a museum and conservation area.

Watch as the bladesmith uses the Homestead forge to turn raw iron into detailed pieces, learn about native plants and pollinators in the garden, or enjoy an architectural tour of the 1842 Park family home. Other demonstrations include beekeeping, print making, butter making, textile weaving, and so many more – all of which will give guests the chance to meet the artists and learn how to fit one of these ‘old’ hobbies into modern life. Guests will also get a chance to try their hands at various art forms, to purchase items to take home, and to tap their toes to live music throughout the day.

“So much of what we do today happens in front of a digital screen, and that includes creative activities; this event provides wonderful first-hand experiences that you can’t get from watching television, or playing on a tablet” said Homestead Curator Kris Ives. “This festival is a great opportunity to take part in the creation of pieces that are both beautiful and functional, to meet artisans, and to find inspiration, while enjoying a day on the Lake. We have really grown the festival this year, and – in addition to the over 40 artisans that will be on-site, we are excited to be partnering with Fort Malden and the Lac Ste. Claire Voyageur group to provide colourful encampments and additional Lost Art displays, including black powder demonstrations.”

New this year is “Picturing the Past” and art exhibit, which features the Homestead in works of art from 1978-2018 in celebration of the Homestead’s 40th anniversary. Visitors are invited to make a day of it: enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables from the Fruit Wagon, taste local honey from Dresser’s Purest Honey, and purchase delicious lunch items from the popular road chef food truck. Also new this year, creative activities for children have been added with “Imagination Stations” and old-fashioned favourites will appear as “Hands-On History”.

Admission to the event is $6 per adult, $4 per child, with a $20 family maximum.

For more information, contact the Homestead: 519-738-2029, or

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