December 16, 2017
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Pie Social at Norlands

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Featuring a pie baking contest, pie sale, music by Phil Poirier and The Merry Plinksters Ukulele Group, and tours of the 1867 Washburn family mansion and one-room schoolhouse. Visit www.norlands.org/events for more event details and pie baking contest rules.

Step back into the post-Civil War era against a backdrop of rolling fields and woodlands at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore. History and music will fill the autumn air along with the delicious aroma of fresh-baked homemade pies during this 7th annual fundraiser for Norlands. Whole pies will be for sale for $12 while slices are served up with real whipped cream for a donation. All proceeds benefit the Norlands educational programs

New this year is a Pie Baking Contest. Adult and junior bakers can enter pies and have the chance to win fun and fabulous Norlands’ inspired prizes. Contest rules and entry forms may be found on the Norlands website, www.norlands.org/events or by emailing norlands@norlands.org. Bakers also have a chance for a special “Gold Medal” prize if they make the crust using Gold Medal Flour. The Norlands is the ancestral home of the founder of Gold Medal Flour. Born in Livermore in 1818, Cadwallader Colden Washburn moved west and, at the age of 48, built a flour mill on St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1880 he entered several types of flours in the International Millers’ Exhibition in Cincinnati and his flours won the bronze, silver, and gold medal prizes. He then changed the name and started the Gold Medal brand.

Visitors to the Pie Social will hear more about Cadwallader during a tour of the Washburn family home. Guided tours are available all afternoon. Learn about the remarkable Washburn family of Livermore that produced, in one generation: four Congressmen from four different states and three in Congress serving together at one time; two Governors from two different states; one army general; one Captain in the Navy; one Secretary of State; one United States Senator; two Foreign Ministers; one founder of Gold Medal Flour which became General Mills and one founder of another flour company that became part of Pillsbury; one founder of the Soo Railroad; one banker; and three published authors. After growing up in poverty, the seven Washburn brothers went on to become leaders in business and industry, political affairs and international diplomacy.

The 1853 one-room schoolhouse, similar to the one where all of the Washburns attended school, is just a short walk down the road and will be open all afternoon. The schoolmarm, Clara Howard, will be waiting for her scholars. It’s fun for all ages!

Music will fill the air starting at 1pm with Phil Poirier, a singer-songwriter in the pop/folk tradition. His music has been described as “contemporary folk with a touch of the blues.” It features strong, thoughtful lyrics and hook-driven melodic sensibilities. He has been told he sounds like a “melodic Dylan” with hints of Mark Knopfler, James Taylor, Paul Simon, John Sebastian, Arlo Guthrie, and maybe a bit of Gordon Lightfoot. Phil is also an artist/photographer and a former board member of the Norlands. For more information about his work, visit www.philpoirier.com.

The Merry Plinksters, a Ukulele group from the Farmington area, play around 2pm. The Merry Plinksters Ukulele Group is the ongoing year-round extension of a 4-week Ukulele 101 class that is offered twice a year at RSD9 Adult Education in Farmington. Facilitator Michael Burd is also the Technology Instructor there. The group, founded in 2010, has an extensive and unique catalog of songs spanning many decades and genres. Burd supplements his instruction time as a professional bassist; recording and touring nationally with David Mallett and others. The Plinksters are comprised of a dozen or more vibrant members at any one time. Visit and the group’s facebook page at facebook.com/merryplinkstersuke.

A $5 general admission is charged for the mansion and schoolhouse tour ($3 for children ages 12 and under). Otherwise it is free to enjoy pie and music on the front lawn provided by Phil Poirier and The Merry Plinksters Ukulele Group.

Activities take place rain or shine. In case of cold or damp weather, the music and pie sale will be moved indoors.