Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 12, 2012

A needed reminder of the past


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---- — A volunteer for the Port Oneida Fair had it right. Without the efforts of all the people who put the fair together the story of those who built homesteads out of the dunes and forests of northern Lower Michigan would be "lost history."

The fair over the weekend featured 100 artists and craftspeople who demonstrated late 1800s and early 1900s skills at six sites in the historic Port Oneida Rural Historic District of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

There was a one-room schoolhouse, a Civil War-era living history exhibit, hay cutting, working horses and oxen, quilting, historic cooking demonstrations, butter-making and soap-making, spinning, a blacksmith, artists, musicians and maritime activities.

It's too easy to forget that just day-to-day living 150 years ago took a lot more time and effort than it does now. For most there was no store just down the street or prepared food or indoor plumbing. Events like the fair give us a needed reminder of what it took to establish roots here and who those people who did the work really were.