We've had a number of reviews lately with items that cover the American Revolution, such as our YWAM book about George Washington and then the Rush Revere series of books. When we found out that there was a Colonial Faire going on only 2 hours away, we decided it was time to take a break from the desert and head to the forest for a trip to Riley Farms in Glen Oaks, California and let the kids experience some of their book lessons in person.
The Colonial Faire takes visitors back into the year 1774 with interactive displays, reenactments and a cast of costumed characters that help to education the public about life in the colonies in the 18th Century.
When we first arrived, we were instructed that we would have to visit one of two tables in order to "enlist" with either the Loyalists (those who supported and were loyal to King George) or with the Colonialists. A quick decision was made and we headed over to the table for those of the Colonialists, where we were given a green wristband and where we used a quill and ink to sign our names to the ledger.
However, the British were not so quick to just let us join the militia.. As we passed their table, they asked us to trade our green wristbands for red ones, to show our allegiance to King George. They asked us what the Colonial army had offered us (My husband answered free beer) and quickly pointed out to us that the Kings Army were better equipped and would provide food, lodging, and better uniforms and that all traitors to the king would eventually earn a traitors death.
It was at this point, my little homeschooler piped in and quoted Patrick Henry and his "Give me liberty or give me death". He informed her that Henry was a traitor and when they caught him, they would kill him. Ashleigh stood her ground and we continued the day with our green wristbands.. LOL
|Asheligh speaking to the British Regiment recruiting officer.|
Regiments of Redcoats were everywhere.. We really enjoyed looking at their uniforms.
There were many interactive displays in various tents on the farm grounds. One of these was to teach how they used looms to make blankets and rugs from wool from sheep. A nice woman took a few moments to show Ashleigh the proper technique to use the loom and the shuttle and then invited Ashleigh to do a bit of the weaving herself. Ashleigh quickly picked up on the technique and worked on a piece for a few moments.
Across from this display was a pottery display. The kids loved looking at all the fire glazed pottery and watching as a man showed how to work the pottery wheel and form the clay. They even brought over a bottle that showed how clay was formed for Ashleigh and Garrett to see, since they had showed genuine interest.
We ended up purchasing the mug at the back of the table closest to the edge. But all the pieces were so gorgeous and the woman beside the table would take pieces off to show Ashleigh how pieces used different colored clays to created different patterns and told her how the firing process worked.
After looking at some of the displays, we headed over to the main square to watch the reenactment of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770.
While we waited for the presentation we had a few visitors come over to talk to us. One of these was John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore and the Governor of Virginia.
Gov. Murray answered lots of questions for the kids, telling them about his love of Pineapples. He had a Pineapple on his walking stick and on his baldric and told them about his house in Scotland that has a huge 48 foot tall pineapple. (We googled this when we got home and learned about the Dunmore house when we returned home). . Sorry for the weird angles in the photographs, I was sitting on the grass while the kids were on the benches.
Ashleigh asked him about his ribbon on his hat, and he told her that it was called a Cockade and that his was white to represent his homeland, Scotland. The other man was wearing a black cockade which represented that he was militia and against the king, but for the life of me, I forgot who he said he represented and he didn't speak much.
As we walked along looking at the different presentations, there were plenty of proclamations and other notices from the King posted, such as bounties for traitors. We had fun finding many of these posed on various trees throughout the grounds.
This one was just a reminder for people to go and pick up their wristbands.
Following the Boston Massacre, we headed over to watch the blacksmiths.. Here there were two men working on different items. On the opposite side of us was a man making toy soldiers out of pewter, showing how they melt the metal and pour it into a mold. This side had lots of people, as I think the guy would give the soldier to a lucky kid. However, we went to the opposite side, where nobody else was at and we had an up close and personal experience of watching how they made horseshoes. This was really neat, as we were able to ask questions and he would walk us through each step.
He used two different methods to heat the metal. The brick forge we were told reaches temperatures of roughly 1800*F, high enough to turn the metal bright red but not enough to actual melt the metal. The second forge we were told reached temperatures much hotter and that if he were to leave the iron in that forge for too long, it would melt.
Another great display that we got to see was the Drum and Fife. Here we learned quite a bit. The reason they used drums and fifes was because the sound of these instruments could be heard from long distances. Also, members of the drum and fife were often under the age of 18 and as young as 10. Because of this, we learned it was considered a crime to shoot upon or kill them.
Earlier, when we were learning about weaving, we were informed that the wood yarn that we were using was spun and dyed from the wool from the sheep on site. We had to go and visit the sheep (and a few goats as well) who were extremely friendly.
Everyone had a great time and learned a lot from the experience. We didn't know about this event until I saw someone discussing it on a thread on facebook and I am so glad we found out about it. The kids had so much fun. Hopefully we can find more experiences available like this because it was a really great field trip experience.