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New festival to offer glimpse into history of Court Days


By Brianna White
Advocate Staff writer

The time of Court Days past will be brought back to downtown this weekend.

The first October Heritage Festival, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in the Courthouse Square downtown, is a collaborative event between the Gateway Regional Arts Center, the Montgomery County History Museum and the Montgomery County Public Library and will serve as a day to remember the history of Court Days.

Executive Director of the GRAC Jeanette Tesmer said the day will also serve as a reminder of the convenience of Mt. Sterling’s downtown vicinity.

“We all love Court Days, but what I think is really exciting is the history of it and what it used to be,” Tesmer previously told the Advocate.
The event will be free and open to the public, but food and some activities and vendors will require purchase, Tesmer said.

The day will include demonstrations from craftsmen (blacksmithing, chair caning, wool spinning), music, farmers’ market vendors and other vendors with different items. Items will include antiques that are around 100 years old.

A historic walking tour, sponsored by the Montgomery County Health Dept. at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., will begin at the arts center, include the new library and end at the history museum.

Free children’s activities will be offered at the arts center, and the history museum will also be open.

Miles Hoskins, president of the Montgomery County Historical Society, said the event will be a refreshing look at Court Days.
“It reminds (people) of their childhood and what Court Days used to be,” Hoskins said. “We’re trying to make it old timey. ... It’ll be a departure from the modern day Court Days.”

He added the event would also be a great experience for children to get an understanding of how Court Days has changed over time.

Because this is the first year for the event, it is starting small, Tesmer said, but she hopes to expand it next year if the festival goes well.
In addition to the festival, and following folksinger and Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour Michael Johnathon’s visit to the center Oct. 12, the center will host a small music festival to kick off this year’s Court Days.
Howl at the Moon will be from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at the arts center.

Tickets are $5 and children ages 10 and under get in for free.
The festival will feature local musical talent, such as Grits and Soul, Josh Nolan and His Band and The Local Honeys.