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Family Days is September 12 & 13 at the Octagon Barn in Ubly

FAMILY DAYS: Fall Festival Sept. 12-13 at Thumb Octagon Barn

August 31, 2015       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Join us on Saturday, September 12th and/or Sunday, September 13th from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM for the 20th anniversary events, demonstrations, and displays of Fall Family Days 2015 sponsored by Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn.

Admission is $5 for people 6 years of age and older. Theme: "Trees Are Our Friends." Note: New this year, ALL vehicles MUST enter from Bay City-Forestville Road only. NO PETS.

September 14, 1996 - the first Fall Family Days event was held with about 300 people in attendance. The co-chairs of the event were Rose Putnam, Cass City, Dave Babcock, Caro, and Bob Hirn, Cass City. The purpose was to SAVE THE THUMB OCTAGON BARN! A beginning core of a about dozen people formed the "Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn." Today the membership of the Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn is over 650! In 2015, there are 10 structures on site covering 26 acres.

Martin Kubacki, Ubly, Chairperson of the 20th Annual Fall Family Days, is planning on over 16,000 people to attend with over 450 volunteers. The overall goal: a wonderful educational experience for the whole family to learn more about rural life in the 1900's.

Fall Family Days 2015 event begins at 4 PM on Friday, September 5th with a Fish Fry served until 7 PM; $10 adults, kids six to twelve is $5, children under 5 FREE. Greg Talaski, Kinde, will prepare the delicious fish.

Following the Fish Fry, folks are invited to a Music Jam in the barn. The Eastern Michigan Music Makers, organized by Arlen Bannick, Bad Axe, will be sharing some good old-time music. Bring your musical instruments and singing voices to join in the fun - maybe even a chance to kick up your heels!

The theme for 2015 is "Trees Are Our Friends." In the theme tent near the Purdy home, information will be related concerning the Fire of 1881 - which burned over most of the Thumb Area destroying most everything in its path! The Fire of 1881 was also the beginning of the American Red Cross with Clara Barton heading the project! Greg Alexander, Carsonville, and Tammy Grifka, Peck, will be giving presentations and answering questions relating to all the things trees and their byproducts do for the people in their daily lives. As you explore the Thumb Octagon Barn and House, see and learn why all different kinds of woods were used in the construction.

A huge country breakfast prepared by the Knights of Columbus #3224, Caro; serving on Saturday from 8 to 10 AM and Sunday from 8 to 11 AM. Cost of the breakfast is $7, ages five years to twelve $5, and children under five free.

Other foods to enjoy available to purchase will be homemade bean soup, chicken & fries, cotton candy, pressed apple cider, homemade ice cream made by the Thumb Antique Car Club, homemade pie made by the Knights of Columbus, Caro, fresh lemonade out by the School, hog kettle popcorn, plus, made in front of your eyes and noses, delicious, warm homemade doughnuts.

Concessions, run by McDonald's Food and Family Center, Bad Axe, will be available all throughout the day in the Munro Building. In addition at the Sugar Shack, east of the creek, there will be delicious caramel corn and sorghum syrup for sale.

Eastern Michigan Music Makers, under the direction of Arlen Bannick, Bad Axe, will be providing old fashioned music throughout the two day event - just as they have from the very first Fall Family Days in 1996! On Saturday and Sunday the musicians will play old time music from 11 AM to 5 PM using a variety of musical instruments. Saturday evening, 8 to 10 PM, there will be "Old Time Music" in the barn and maybe a little dancing! Sunday morning at 10 AM outside near the house, they will hold an Old Gospel Hymns sing-a-long.

Open for walk through tours will be the wonderful 7 bedroom two story house, home of James and Cora Purdy and their two daughters. This gorgeous house, built in 1922, has been restored to its wonderful grandeur. It is furnished with furniture, items, and clothing of the time - some of which belonged to the Purdys! Music will fill the Purdy Home with dulcimer players and Alex Paladi, Deford, will be playing the Purdy Family Melodeon. Highlighting the theme of 'Trees,' the variety of different kinds of wood used in the home for functional and decorative use will be pointed out.Interpretive guides will be available to answer questions, plus give historical information concerning the house.

In the garage on both days, hands on activity/craft classes for men and women have been scheduled by Linda Bailey, Cass City. A variety of classes will be held both days for adults who are interested in learning some old/new crafts; the complete list of the activities available for 2015 will be at the garage.

The One Room Country School will have scheduled "Patriotic Presentations" by students/teachers - dressed in clothing/attire representing the 1920's and 30's - in the old Mast School. There will be 2 performances on Saturday and on Sunday; times will be listed outside school building. There will also be lots time to tour the One Room Country School! The old, original Mast School was moved to the site from the Sebewaing area several years ago. The new County School Museum building will display materials, photos and maps from years gone by from the Country Schools from the Thumb area. Guides will be available to answer questions, accept 'old school donations,' plus to listen to the stories of your education in years gone by.

Some of the additional features and on-going demonstrations that will be a part of Fall Family Days 2015 are Thumb Octagon Barn history talk in the arena of the Barn with Margaret Sergeant, Gagetown. Barn and Agricultural History Museum areas are on display throughout the Barn, plus up on the lofts.

The Cider Mill building is open behind the creek, plus the Blacksmith Shop, Sugar Shack making sorghum syrup, and the Grain Elevator will be running. The Powerhouse will be open with interpretive guides explaining how it powered the farm using a steam engine, plus the 32 Volt Delco system. The fellas at the sawmill will be cutting huge logs into boards that will be used in the future on the site, the veneer mill will be running, and there is a wonderful sawmill museum displaying wood tools plus featuring lumberyards throughout the Thumb. There will be morning and afternoon demonstrations of threshing and baling using some of the old equipment on site. Theresa Schumitsch, Millington, will be milking goats and making butter. Working will be 'hit and miss' gas engines, stationery hay press, steam engines, wagon wheel rug weaving, and broom making.

There will be displays of many old tractors, plus an old Bay City shovel. Thumb Two Cylinder Club will have an extensive display of old John Deere toys in the Barn. Free horse drawn wagon rides will be available east of the creek!. There will also be ongoing field harvesting and threshing demonstrations out by the Munro Building.

Out by the creek will be a huge Children's Activity tent, surrounded by a white picket fence. Kids get to choose to washing clothes on the scrub board, hang them on a clothes lines, use bean sorters, milk the wooden milking goat, pretend to be cowboys as they ride saddles to ride on straw bales, play checkers and other old fashioned games, walk on the wooden stilts, pump water, plus included in the same area are the children's Barrel Train rides. Children need to be accompanied by an adult; all activities are free.

At 2:30 PM in front of the barn both days, there will be a Variety Show, organized and narrated by Lila Arroyo, Cass City. Following at 3 PM both days will be the narrated parade of antique tractors and equipment. Raffle tickets are available for purchase for a variety of wonderful items; after the parade on Sunday, the raffle prize winners will be drawn.

Louie and Linda Wehrman, Reese, vendor co-chairpersons, have rented out all 240 spaces. This means a wide range vendors displaying arts, crafts, and flea market items will be available for purchase in a variety of price ranges. Thumb Octagon Barn souvenirs will be in the souvenir stand located behind the garage; a credit card machine will be available.

Free shuttles are provided to and from the parking areas to the site; handicapped shuttles are also available.

PLEASE NOTE: NO PETS allowed at Fall Family Days due Health Department regulations and liability. Note: new this year, ALL vehicles MUST enter from Bay City-Forestville Road only.

Come, spend the day, to see and enjoy an educational step back to rural Michigan in the early 1900's! ###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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