activities · family · fun

Spirit of the Jerseys

Earlier in May (where my phone short circuited), we went to a Spirit of the Jerseys state history fair.  It was very educational and a great place for the boys to go and learn about various things in history mainly from the Civil War period through the early 1930s.  We love finding educational and cheap or free things to do.  This had a $10 parking fee and that was it. The rest was free.

Here, a woman is dressed up (looks colonial to me).  She was playing a hammer dulcimer and played a lute as well.  Leto is not shy at all so he asked a lot of questions.  She pulled out a board, sat on it, and made her wooden toys dance by smacking it while singing a song.  Leto got a chance to try to make it dance too.  NJSpiritevent2

A woman let the boys play with many old-fashioned toys that they had a lot of fun trying out.  She was very kind and we were probably hanging out with her for 10-15 minutes as she explained the games and let them try them.

What I thought was really awesome, is that a man was allowing people to learn how farming worked before we had the tractors we use these days.  A horse-drawn plow is something we never see.  The boys each got to plow half a row with a help of a guide.  It really cut the dirt so well and they enjoyed it.
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A pirate section of course has to be at pretty much every fair, right?  This man showed them about various coins and showed them about the meaning behind “pieces of eight” and how they were used.

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This woman is shearing a sheep with scissors.  She was really gentle with it but I kept getting scared because of how close the shearing is and I didn’t want the sheep to be hurt.  With the wool, Leto got to smooth it out with brushes.  Both of the boys got to take a little wool to keep.  They were shown about spinning wheels and then eventually how they can be loomed to making things like clothing with it.  I think seeing the whole process really excited them.

These old machines interested the boys so much.  The first one is a bubble making machine. It was off during this point, but they did turn it on and the boys chased the bubbles and popped them.  The second machine takes the corn off of the cob.  They got to each put in a cob and man it was so simple and fast.  Definitely a scary machine in case you put your arm in though….

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A fireman showed the boys how to put out fires on a house. HAHA.

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There were tables on display throughout the area with historical information.  I loved the old bicycles and the old suitcase Victrola.  A man presented his flea circus to us as well.  He was funny and I had to help him with something he volunteered me for (it was really odd honestly).  He taught some flea circus history while doing his performance.

Here we have “Mabel Fenton” who was a vaudeville stage actress who had been known for her “pie in the face” that has maintained iconic fame since.  She explained how the “pies” were made and how they were not actual pies because the real pies curdled in the heat, but were shaving cream pies.  The boys got to each throw a “pie” at a picture of her husband, Charles Ross.  They were known as Ross & Fenton doing their act in NJ.

Clara Barton who founded the Red Cross spoke all about her history, but not much about Red Cross (she was a little long winded, but I enjoyed learning what I did. . .she actually had run out of time).
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Everything was held at an area where there was a battle during the American Revolutionary War.  It was so beautiful there that it was sad to think how much bloodshed took place once in the spot where we walked. I tried to get a photo of Leto up close but the sun hurt his eyes so much that he kept squinting too much.  I got one of Micah though.
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