Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

History Is Alive at Clay Fair

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

History Is Alive at Clay Fair

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE WILHELM JR.

Drawing attention to history and getting students to learn during the spring can be difficult when the weather is so nice, but the Rediscover Early Florida Pioneer Village brings its students outside and shows them what life was like in Florida's formative years.

The village, located at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Green Cove Springs, started out with a single cracker-style house built by students of Clay High School in 1991. Since that beginning, Sarah Lynn Boe has obtained other homes from Clay County pioneer families. The names Baxley, Mosley, Padgett and Johns are carved into wooden plaques that hang on houses in the village.

The village will be open today (noon to 7 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) at the Clay County Agricultural Fair.

The Baxley house was one of the most popular during the fair's opening weekend because of the free food. Four-year fair veterans Irma Johnson, Jann Heath and Joan Peck were dressed in outfits similar to those worn in the 1920s and they dished out collard greens and corn and spice bread.

"Some people have never tasted collard greens before," said Heath. "It's good to show people what life was like and get them interested in history."

The Green Cove Springs Quilters club sat out on the front porch of the Johns house and stitched away.

"We have a good time together," said Rose Woods, of Green Cove Springs. "And the weather hasn't been too hot for the clothes."

Yarn was being spun together on the front porch of the Cracker house.

"Watch your fingers," said Eleanor Gulick, of Jacksonville, who warned a child fascinated by the spinning parts. "It's fun to be able to bring history to life because it's important for people to know about their history."

The Clay County Fair is one of the high points of the year for the North family, who harvest their sugar cane and bring it to the village. …

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