October is National Polish American History Month, so what would be more perfect than spending time learning about history in a county named to honor one of the most well-known Polish heroes of the American Revolution – Count Casimir Pulaski, who gave his life for the Patriot cause on Oct. 11, 1779.
Leading a month’s worth of activities, the Newbern Fall Festival wraps up a weekend of fun on Oct. 13. This popular annual festival, hosted by the Newbern Volunteer Fire Department, brings another day of heritage celebration to Pulaski County today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wilderness Road Regional Museum is central to this festival, and will be showcasing music, history, food and special preservation projects. Musical groups such as Ron Ireland, Virginia Hollow, Nate Montgomery, Jim Lloyd and Friends, John Cake and the Lunch Truck, and many more will be performing on the museum stages and strolling along the Wilderness Road. Other activities include living history demonstrations by the Fincastle/Militia, New River Rifles, museum volunteers, Virginia Tech interns and area historians. Apple butter cooking and apple cider pressing, candle dipping, corn shelling, weaving, spinning, lacemaking, bullet making, leather works, wood turning and much more will be shared in the back garden at the museum and throughout the historic structures. Newbern’s favorite cornbread and beans, hot dogs, apple fritters and more will be for sale on the back porch. All activities are free to enjoy, but food sales and other donations will directly support museum operations.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, music will ring out from the 1818 German barn when Sugar Run, a local favorite bluegrass band, will offer a special performance from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Bring your chair or blanket and your dancing boots and join in the fun! A suggested donation of $10 would be greatly appreciated.
Sunday, Oct. 27, the annual “Spirits Along the Wilderness Road Wagon Ride Into the Past” will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Guests will take a horse-drawn wagon around the museum grounds and across the Wilderness Road, stopping along the way to welcome spirits such as Col. James Patton, Col. William Christian, Mary Draper Ingles, Lt. Daniel Howe, village founder Adam Hance, storekeeper Henry Hance, future presidents Andrew Jackson and Rutherford B. Hayes, and many more who once trod along the Great Wagon Road as it cut through the town of Newbern. Reservations are highly recommended due to the limited number of carriage seats available. Each ride lasts about 30 minutes. Locally grown and pressed apple cider will be mulling for visitors to taste before and after the rides, as well as heritage crafts for kids. The $10 donation suggested for participation in the wagon ride will be used to help continued educational outreach at the museum.
This event and all others are in part sponsored by HHHunt of Blacksburg, Hethwood and Foxridge Apartments.
Wilderness Road Regional Museum is located at 5240 Wilderness Road, Dublin.
In addition to happenings at Wilderness Road, the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Transportation Museum in Pulaski has two events designed for younger history buffs.
On Friday, Oct. 18, for the fall break in Pulaski County Public Schools, the Ratcliffe will hold a special Fall Break Day from 1 to 4 p.m. Kids will have the opportunity to harvest seeds from the large gardens surrounding the museum and create seed art crafts for planting in the spring. A limited number of students will be accepted. Please call the Ratcliffe to register. A $20 donation is suggested.
The following Friday, Oct. 25, will be the monthly “Night at the Ratcliffe Museum” for local kids, offering a movie, crafts, pizza and more. A donation of $25 per registrant is requested.
The Raymond F. Ratcliffe Transportation Museum is located at 51 Commerce St.
History happened here in Pulaski County and we are excited to share it! For more information on events, please call the Wildernesss Road Regional Museum at 674-4835 or the Ratcliffe Museum at 980-2307.
— Submitted by April Martin