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Apple Blossom Festival to include historic demonstrations

NEWFANE – You know spring is in the air when the Newfane Historical Society presents the annual Apple Blossom Festival, to be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Sunday.

This free event takes place on the society’s Country Village grounds, 2685 West Creek Road.

Look for a flea market, crafts, a variety of food, historical demonstrations, live performances, a tractor and farm equipment show and extended activities at the Civil War Reenactors’ Winter ’64 Encampment, located along the creek bank. Hands-on encampment activities are featured all day, giving visitors an up-close view of the life of a soldier during the war.

The festival, always a welcome sign of spring, also has a real purpose this year as a crucial fundraiser to help defray some of the expenses of restoring the Hrvol House and its artifacts. They were damaged during this harsh winter, according to Rose Schaeffer, society president.

The Hrvol House – the first building the society had acquired to start its country village – is the only building on the site to maintain electricity and water service through the winter months, Schaeffer said. But the furnace stopped working and no one noticed it for about a month this winter, causing the pipes to freeze, then burst, which led to extensive damage.

“We lost a lot, but some artifacts were salvaged,” Schaeffer said. “We haven’t even started on the restoration to the house, which is a log cabin donated to us by the Hrvol family. We will take the summer to go through the items piece by piece and clean them up before putting them back.”

The festival serves as one of the society’s big fundraisers, so members are hoping for a big turnout because, “every little bit helps,” Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer said the Civil War encampment will feature an array of activities this year and opens to the public at 10 a.m. It is followed at 11:30 a.m. by formation and inspection of the honor guard on Company Street. At noon, a flag-raising ceremony will feature a military honor guard and artillery firing demonstrations on the west side of the Hrvol House.

A 12:30 p.m. musket-firing demonstration will be repeated at 3:30 p.m. Artillery firing demonstrations also are planned at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. An infantry skirmish will take place at 1:15 p.m., including the demonstration of treatment of a wounded soldier. A photographic study of “Henegan’s Redoubt” is slated for 2:30 p.m. and the final daily activities will begin at 4 p.m.

Organizers are always looking for volunteers, who are needed to help with vendors, set-up and tear down. They particularly need help at their food stops, which have a variety of tasks available. To volunteer, contact Jill Heck at jill@newfanehistoricalsociety.com. For more information about the organization or event, visit: NewfaneHistoricalSociety.com.

Tours will also be conducted at the society’s Van Horn Mansion from 1 to 4 p.m. that day at 2165 Lockport-Olcott Road, Burt.