Henderson Hall welcomes people to Fall Heritage Festival

Pam Hoskins demonstrates her spinning wheel and making yarn from alpaca wool at the second annual Fall Heritage Festival Sunday afternoon at Henderson Hall. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

BOAZ — Many people enjoyed the chance to get out and do something as Henderson Hall hosted its second annual Fall Heritage Festival Sunday afternoon.

The historic home along West Virginia 14 south of Williamstown welcomed a number of people to its grounds for the annual event. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many local festivals and other events have been canceled.

Even with health restrictions in place, the festival featured local craftsmen and artisans, antique gas engines displayed by the Wood County Flywheelers, tours of the home, period kid games and more.

Randy Modesitt, Henderson Hall director, said the turnout was better than expected.

“Things got off to a slow start, and it has been picking up this afternoon,” he said.

Blacksmith Joseph Ritchey did demonstrations Sunday afternoon during the Fall Heritage Festival at Henderson Hall, making small hooks for the people who stopped by to watch. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

One snag was the glassblower they had scheduled was not able to attend.

“The crowd is enjoying going into the hall,” Modesitt said. “It is such a beautiful day.”

The festival is continuing to grow and develop with new offerings being presented and plans for the future with the barn on the grounds.

“This is a good thing, despite the virus,” Modesitt said. “This is mostly outside, and that helps.

The Valley Gem sternwheeler brought people during the day, with Modesitt making three trips to the boat to bring people to the house. They also hosted a Lions Club event in the evening.

Henderson Hall hosted its second annual Fall Heritage Festival Sunday afternoon. The festival featured local craftsmen and artisans, tours of the home, period children’s games and more. The Wood County Flywheelers also had a few gas engines on display. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

They were able to conduct tours of the home, making sure to social distance and having people wear masks inside.

Modesitt hopes people enjoyed themselves and appreciate the property being there.

“I hope they see the beauty of the property and they get an idea of how we are growing,” he said. “More than anything else, I hope people enjoyed being able to come out and enjoy a fall day.”

He hopes it will prompt people to be able come back for other events.

“We were excited to be able to get this one going because we have canceled so many things,” he said.

John and Vicky Dutton of Belpre talk with Brenda Wentzel about a carving of a horse her husband, Patrick, did at the second annual Fall Heritage Festival Sunday afternoon at Henderson Hall. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

Vicky and John Dutton of Belpre came in on the Valley Gem sternwheeler

“We just like to do things like this,” Vicky said.

They have taken the boat ride from Marietta before and visited the home in the past. They wanted to come out Sunday and see the artisans, including the woodcarver, the blacksmith, the yarn spinners and more. They enjoyed the people on the grounds who were playing the bagpipes.

“We are just taking it all in,” Vicky said. “You learn something new every time.”

The couple were looking for a book on the Henderson family that was available during a previous visit that they wanted to acquire this time.

“It is such a beautiful day and it is the perfect day to do this,” Vicky said.

Blacksmith Joseph Ritchey was happy with the turnout on Sunday.

“We have had a good crowd,” he said. “It is a beautiful day out.”

Ritchey said he has been able to bring some kids in to let them help make small hook items.

People have been interested in the tools and the process of what he does.

“It has been a good day,” he said.

Woodcarver Patrick Wentzel had many people stop by and ask him about a piece he was working on, a representation of an eagle that was popular in the early 20th century. His wife Brenda has been showing many people a small carving he did of a horse.

“The kids really like to watch you carve,” Patrick Wentzel said.

Wentzel said by this time of year, they usually would have had around six events. So far, there have only been three.

“We have had so many events canceled,” he said. “We had a lot of people show up today.”

Pam Hoskins, who operated a spinning wheel, said it was good to be able to get out and do something.

“I am loving it,” she said. “I really appreciate the invite.”

Many men have been interested in the mechanics of her spinning wheel while many ladies are interested in how the alpaca wool is made into yarn.

“The kids are interested in all of it,” Hoskins said.

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com


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