Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Families Spend an Afternoon Re-Creating History at Festival

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Families Spend an Afternoon Re-Creating History at Festival

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, Clay County Line staff writer

Rebecca Blair, quite proud of her accomplishment, raised her arms in victory.

Just 7, she took on a seasoned pirate in a sword fight with all the intensity her young body could muster and came out the winner.

"I got her!" she proclaimed, to everyone within earshot. "I got her FOUR times!"

"I didn't do very well, did I?" moaned the pirate.

Rebecca was so intrigued with swordfighting that she took on the pirate again, then took on another and another.

Of course, neither the swords nor the pirates were real. They were part of children's fantasies brought to life at the 12th annual Railroad and History Festival on Saturday in Green Cove Springs.

Children also got to try on Civil War-era military uniforms, watch Apache Indian dances, climb aboard a 1920s red caboose, pretend to be behind bars at the old Clay County jail, feed farm animals, and see Clay Fire and Rescue demonstrate how it can take apart a vehicle to rescue occupants, among other things.

And they still had time to eat huge cookies and sit still for face-painting sessions.

Meanwhile, adults reminisced about heydays of railroading, saw vintage military and other vehicles and historic dress and listened to music.

Visitors had a wide range of experiences, which was the goal of organizers who spent months planning the event.

"It's rare for me and my wife and my 10-year-old son and my 13-year-old daughter and my parents to find something that all of us can enjoy," said Ted Addison, who brought his family from Jacksonville. "But it seems to be happening here."

The festival is designed to educate people about the history of Clay County, including the critical role the railroad played in its development. Visitors got to see a former rail depot and lots of rail memorabilia. …

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