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Idaho Enterprise

“Mountain Man Rendezvous” at Heritage Square

May 22, 2023 02:07PM ● By Anna Pro

On Monday, the Heritage Square in Samaria hosted groups of students for what was initially planned as a mountain man style educational event.  As various stations were added to the event, according to Melanie Coleman of the PTO, the event expanded to include activities relevant to pioneering, early farming, and other historical areas of interest.  

Volunteers from around the valley were on hand to take students through a variety of activities related to the history of the area, including rope making (directed by Rob Wansgard), Pelts and Trapping (Challis Sweeten), Candle Dipping (Hailey Sweeten), Cleaning and Carding Wool (Heidi Kimberling), Spinning Wool (Chalae Teeples), Hatchet Throwing (Adam Carter), Fire Building and Storytelling (Bart and Jared Ashby), and many others.

The idea was to give students a hands-on experience with some of the skills that were needed to build this valley into the place that it is today, complete with expert input and controlled chances to practice them.

The recent Renaissance Faire was a huge event that brought in hundreds of people to Samaria for a different kind of weekend of history.  Luke Waldron, however, was gratified by this week’s offering.  “This is really the mission of the Square,” he said.  “Having kids engage with hands-on history of the area is really what this is all about.  These kids are our future, and I’m glad they can get to know the past.”

“I’m pretty impressed with these kids,” said mountain man Bart Ashby.  “They’re attentive, and they’ve been great all day.”  

The event was spearheaded by the PTO, who had seen the Renaissance Faire last year, and wondered how else the space might be used for educational purposes, in addition to entertaining ones.  After securing the space, the PTO lined up volunteers for a range of activities, including those already mentioned, butter churning, fry bread making, gem identification, ice cream making, handcart pulling, bows and arrow skills, and old time games including “hoops and sticks,” as well as “buffalo chip frisbee.”

In addition to the story time in a teepee, the event also featured Elizabeth Kent and Kathy Kent presenting Malad Valley history in one of the cabins on site.  Other events are planned with the school during the rest of the week.  

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