Lost Arts Found at the John R. Park Homestead

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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 11 from Noon to 4pm, has been running since the 1980s. At this popular, annual event the Homestead invites you to participate in a day of doing things the old-fashioned way.

Watch as the blacksmith 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 from the Essex County Ramblers 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. “It’s 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.” In addition to the over 40 artisans that will be on-site, a partnership with the Lac Ste. Claire Voyageur group will provide colourful encampments and additional Lost Art displays and demonstrations.

New this year is an appearance by Dr. John Carter, an esteemed historian, and the Homestead’s first Curator from the museum and conservation area’s early days. Dr. Carter will be on-site during the festival with his new book “The Perils and Pitfalls of the Steamer Ploughboy”. This local history book is about the last, and possibly the best known member of the shipping fleet owned by John R. Park and his brothers in Park & Company – the steamer Ploughboy. Dr. Carter will be on-hand to share highlights of the Ploughboy’s story, to answer questions, and to autograph copies of the newly published work. Copies will be available for purchase in the Homestead gift shop. Dr. Carter has generously donated his work on the project, so that all proceeds from book sales will directly benefit the John R. Park Homestead.

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 Scotty’s BBQ food booth. Families are sure to enjoy the creative activities for children in the event’s “Imagination Stations” and old-fashioned favourites will appear as “Hands-On History” stations for visitors to try.

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

For more information, visit www.essexregionconservation.ca or contact the Homestead: 519-738-2029, or jrph@erca.org. The Homestead received the “Best Museum or Heritage Space” Best of Windsor Essex award from Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island in 2018 and 2019. Since 1973, the Essex Region Conservation Authority has served as a community-based organization dedicated to protecting, restoring and managing the natural resources of the Essex Region.


Media Contacts:
Kris Ives
John R. Park Homestead Curator

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