June 21, 2018
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Curran Homestead’s 20th anniversary Summer Festival this weekend

Photo courtesy of Curran Homestead
Photo courtesy of Curran Homestead
The Curran Homestead's 20th anniversary Summer Festival to be held Saturday and Sunday, July 23-24, will feature a 1926 Fordson Model F farm vehicle.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

ORRINGTON, Maine — A 1926 Fordson Model F that rolled into town Tuesday is the first of many antique tractors to arrive for this weekend’s Summer Festival at the Curran Homestead Living History Farm & Museum, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“It was made by Henry Ford & Son of Dearborn, Mich. That’s why it’s called a Fordson,” Irv Marsters, Curran Homestead’s treasurer, said Wednesday.

The vintage farm vehicle is one of many from the Maine Antique Tractor Club expected to arrive at the living history farm for the Summer Festival, which is held annually to transport visitors back to a time when there was no running water and food came straight from the garden.

Activities planned for the two-day summer gathering include tractor-drawn barrel train and Model T rides, scavenger hunts, live farm animals to pet, music, performances and living history activities such as “turn-of the-20th Century family laundry chores,” and using two old crank phones mounted in the kitchen and the barn, Marsters said.

The Curran Farm also will host the Western Maine Blacksmith Association for a blacksmith round-up. The metalsmiths will use the farm’s new two-station brick forge, built by volunteers earlier this year, to demonstrate their blacksmithing skills for the public.

“RH Foster Energy is a major sponsor of the festival’s antique tractor exhibits and the blacksmiths’ round-up [and] some of the restored RH Foster vintage vehicles will also be displayed,” Marsters said.

The Curran events will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday with additional events — a comedy play, baked bean supper and pig roast, and a wood-chopping performance involving audience members — on Saturday night.

The events are being held in conjunction with Maine’s Open Farm Day, which is Sunday.

The circa-1890s Curran Homestead was a subsistence farm that utilized crops, animals, wood and local resources, such as ice from Fields Pond, to provide food, shelter and cash for the Curran family.

Mary Katherine Curran, who died in 1991, asked in her will that the property be preserved, so a group of local volunteers decided to take the 30-acre dilapidated farm and turn it into the Curran Homestead Living History Farm & Museum.

Twenty years later, the Fields Pond Road farm provides a glimpse into the area’s past, and the volunteer board strives to preserve treasures from yesteryear.

The 1926 Fordson that arrived at the farm Tuesday is owned by Bruce Bowden, the living history farm’s newly appointed museum director, who took the reins from Bob Schmick in April when Schmick left to lead the Museum Village in Monroe, N.Y.

It’s tradition that the museum director to take the first tractor tour ride at each summer festival, so that honor will be Bowden’s this year, Marsters said.

The Curran Homestead is located at 372 Fields Pond Road. Daily admission to the summer festival is $3 for adult members and donors and $2 for students, with a maximum family cost of $10. For nonmembers, admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students, with a maximum family cost of $16.

Saturday’s pig roast and bean supper, sponsored by A Wee Bit Farm of Orland, is $7 for adults and $4 for students.

Those who want to participate in the “Hang on to your hats for the Woodchoppers’ Degree” event with master wood chopper Francois Theriault at 6 p.m. Saturday will be charged a $20 fee, and there are a limited number of spots, so preregistration is recommended.

Participants, who need no special experience, will follow Theriault’s instructions as they learn to “chop some wood. It’s hilarious,” Marsters said, adding that participants earn a wood-chopping degree or certificate.

To preregister for the wood choppers’ event, call Irv Marsters at 745-4426.

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