The Highland County Historical Society has moved this year’s Pioneer Day event from mid-August to July 9 at the Scott House in Hillsboro in order to coincide with Hillsboro’s Festival of the Bells.
“We might get a little bigger crowd being right next door, and it would bring more people out if they were coming to the festival anyway so they could partake in both of the events,” said Jean Fawley, a member of the Highland County Historical Society and a coordinator of the event.
Pioneer Day will be once again be held at the historic Scott House on West Main Street in Hillsboro, while this years Festival of the Bells will be heldJuly 7-9 at the city’s new green space on West Main Street, just a short distance from the Scott House.
Pioneer Day will feature historical items from communities throughout Highland County. “We are going to have booths set up from every township,” said Fawley.
Last year’s Pioneer Day included historic-themed booths featuring Hillsboro, Belfast, Buford, Pricetown, Marshall, Mowrystown, Sinking Spring and New Market, along with booths from the Highland County, Greenfield, Leesburg and Lychburg historical societies. An archery trailer and a performance by local magician Steve Farris, who also gave a history on magic, were new attractions to last year’s Pioneer Day.
This year’s event will be Highland County’s third Pioneer Day. Pioneer Day was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Event organizers estimated that about 500 people visited Pioneer Day at each of the events in 2019 and 2021. According to John Kellis, one of last year’s event organizers, Pioneer Day was planned to be a biennial event held on years when the historical society’s Tour of Homes was not being held. But Pioneer Day has been successful enough that it is currently planned to be held every year.
Fawley said members of the Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee will be set up in an area like a pioneer village and demonstrate rope making and other skills necessary for pioneers. “They do all kinds of Appalachian crafts and things like that, and we’re having a trailer that teaches kids archery, and they can do that all day,” said Fawley.
For $5, event participants will be able to have antiques appraised by either bringing in the antique or a picture of the antique.
“We’re having various booths set up concerning the museum, and we’re having several artists and artisans there,” said Fawley. An antique tractor display and blacksmiths will also be part of this year’s Pioneer Day.
The celebration will begin with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. Area Boy Scouts will raise and retire the flag for the event.
Fawley said she is looking forward to “having a successful event again.” She said, “It’s free of charge, so just come out and have a great day.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.