Games, wagon rides, story telling, cooking demonstrations, as well as 18th century craft and harvest activities are all part of Mount Vernon Estate's "Fall Harvest Family Days" Oct. 23 and 24.
Included in the price of regular admission to the Estate, activities begin at 9 a.m. and go to 5 p.m. each day. As an added attraction, for this weekend event only, George Washington's Gristmill offers free admission and each child will receive a free pumpkin, while supplies last.
Visitors join Estate staff in bidding farewell to the farming season with a traditional harvest celebration. Children can create their own cornhusk dolls, find their way through a Straw Bale Maze, and play colonial games including hoops and graces. Children "of all ages" can take a free wagon ride from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.
"This event is especially entertaining for children. They learn about 18th century activities by playing colonial games, watching candles being made and listening to period music," said Stephanie Brown, director, Mount Vernon Marketing.
"Families have a wonderful opportunity to interact with our 18th century characters, and learn a great deal about the operations of a colonial farm," she said. Throughout the day, visitors can watch a sheep-to-shawl demonstration, where a sheep will be shorn and the wool used to create a shawl just as was done in colonial times.
VISITORS WILL BE TREATED to live performances by colonial musicians, wheat-treading demonstrations in Washington's 16-sided barn, as well as candle making and blacksmithing demonstrations. Slave-life interpreter, Larry Earl, offers spirited educational programs throughout the weekend.
Heritage livestock including oxen, mules, sheep, and roosters do their share of the farm work along with costumed field hands as part of "George Washington's Pioneer Farm." Children are allowed to take part in the cooking demonstrations by roasting their own apple slices. Visitors may also purchase fresh-baked food from the old-fashioned bake sale.
At George Washington's Gristmill, visitors experience the 18th century water-powered mill in operation, discover how it works, and learn how this particular mill played an important role in Washington's vision for America's future as "granary to the world." Costumed millers share stories of the mill's history and the people who lived and worked their during Washington's time.
During Fall Harvest Family Days weekend, families can save $5 with a family pass of $27 which covers the admission to the entire Estate for two adults and two children ages 6 to 11. Regular admission rates are: Adults $11, seniors $10.50, children 6 to 11, when accompanied by an adult, $5.