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Posted: 09/11/13

Seven Ponds' Heritage
Harvest Days Sept. 14-15


      Seven Ponds Nature Center's 37th annual Heritage Harvest Days will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 and 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
       The festival has a family friendly atmosphere and a wide range of activities. This year, children 12 years of age and under accompanied by an adult will be admitted to the festival free of charge.
       Heritage Harvest Days also helps support the environmental education activities at Seven Ponds which serve thousands of people in the community during the year, including more than 10,000 school children.
       A big part of Heritage Harvest Days is the variety of antique tractors, cars, trucks, and engines on display. Members of the nature center's own club, the Eastern Michigan Collectors (EMC), create much of this display with the machinery they bring out to the event. Many members of this club have extensive collections of vehicles and related items, and volunteer their time the two days of the festival. Some of the antique tractors will be put to work, powering the LaValley Band Saw Mill both days.
       Anyone who is not a member of EMC is welcome to exhibit a vehicle or engine at the festival. The exhibitors receive free admission to the festival.
       A parade featuring tractors, cars, and trucks is planned each day at 4 p.m. Information about bringing machinery to the festival can be obtained by calling the club's president, Tom Spencer, at (248) 628-3976.
       Over its 37 year history, Heritage Harvest Days has always featured a variety of traditional arts and crafts, with lots of demonstrations. This year, there will be people demonstrating such long-time favorites as spinning, weaving, quilting, knitting, crocheting, woodcarving, chair-making, and basketry. In conjunction with the spinning and weaving, there will be sheep shearing demonstrations by Heritage Award recipient Deb Caryl on both Saturday and Sunday.
       There will also be exhibits on a variety of other traditional subjects, including maple syrup production (Arnold's Sugar Bush), coopering (Doug Francek) and brewing (Lapeer Area Brewers). Blacksmiths Owen Creteau and Kevin Keena of C.J. Forge in Hazel Park will set up a small blacksmith shop where they will be demonstrating their craft through the weekend.
       Many additional artists and crafters with items related to the festival's nature and heritage themes will be on hand. Many of these are new to Heritage Harvest Days. This year's exhibitors will be showing wood canoes, pottery, jewelry, antique buttons, nature photography, rocks and fossils, paintings, herbs, embroidery, bird feeders, and paper crafts. Many of these exhibitors will have items for sale. Artists and crafters who utilize nature or heritage themes in their work, and who would like to set up a booth at the festival, should contact Seven Ponds.
       Seven Ponds is home to a variety of plants and animals. The Seven Ponds Naturalist staff and volunteer naturalists will be conducting many nature related activities during the festival so that visitors can learn about the center's flora and fauna. Naturalists will be stationed in the center's Discovery Room. Visitors can get a close-up look at some of the state's native turtles, watch birds at the feeders, study the observation bee hive, handle pelts on the Touch Table, and visit the popular Hall of Michigan Birds, featuring nearly 200 specimens of native birds. This room also contains an exhibit on bird nests and eggs, and another on decoys.
       There will be regular naturalist-led walks down to the beautiful Seven Ponds and horse-drawn wagon rides around the center's tall grass prairie, featuring horses from Pinecrest Percherons and Carriage Services. Members of the nature center's special interest clubs will also be on hand to provide information. The Friends of Herbs and Butterfly Gardeners will provide tours of the Herb and Butterfly Gardens, the Beekeeping Club will help visitors get started in beekeeping, and the center's Photography Club will be providing information about cameras and photography.
       The Children's Tent is just one place at the festival where children like to spend time. There will also be several crafts offered. On both days, Amazing Mike will perform feats of magic and Wowie the Clown will be creating spectacular face paintings. Children can also enjoy the Farm Animal Tent where they can view and learn about a variety of farm animals, all provided by the Lil' Hillbilly Charms 4-H Club. Funny Face Alpacas will also be at the festival with their unique animals.
       Music Tent coordinator, Imlay City Bob, has scheduled a variety of musicians to play from 1-4 p.m. each day. On Saturday, Blue Train will return to the festival to play progressive bluegrass, acoustic blues, and American roots music at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., while Russ Rheaume will play songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s at 2 p.m. On Sunday, the Mountain Echo Dulcimer Troupe will play bluegrass music at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with Jeff Backe offering a blend of bluegrass music and Irish songs at 2 p.m.
       Visitors to Heritage Harvest Days will find a variety of other features, including a Country Store with antiques and collectibles, a Herb Shop, Bread and Jam Table, a Used Book Table, and much more.
       Many of the food items available at Heritage Harvest Days are long-time favorites. This year there will be an old fashioned beef roast on Saturday and a bratwurst/hot dog lunch on Sunday. There will also be a vegetarian plate, featuring black bean salsa, hummus, and chips and this will be available Saturday and Sunday. Sweet corn, brownies, cold drinks, ice cream, popcorn, sno-cones, nachos, and other goodies will also be available both days.
       The Women's Auxiliary of Seven Ponds, also known as "The Stingers" provide many of the above food items, plus their very popular, old-fashioned gingerbread with lemon sauce. The Stingers will also be holding the drawing for a queen-sized quilt on Sunday at 4 p.m. This beautiful quilt is of a traditional log cabin design with images of local songbirds. The quilt was donated to the nature center by the Thimble Buddies Quilt Guild of Lapeer. Tickets for the raffle will be on sale during the festival or at the nature center front desk prior to the event.
       The gates to Heritage Harvest open at 11 a.m. each day and close at 5 p.m. Daily schedules and events may vary. Admission is $6 for adults and no charge for children 12 years of age and under. Seven Ponds Nature Center is located at 3854 Crawford Road between Calkins Road and Lake George Road, and is one mile south of Dryden Road. Dryden Road can be reached from M-24 or M-53, watch for signs. Many volunteers are needed to put on Heritage Harvest Days. For information on volunteer opportunities, call (810) 796-3200. For additional information on festival activities, call the nature center or visit the nature center's website at www.sevenponds.org.


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