The Highland County Historical Society’s third annual Pioneer Day will be held at the historic Scott House on West Main Street in Hillsboro on July 9 to coincide with the final day of the city’s 2022 Festival of the Bells.
“It’s a community event that the historical society does to bring some history,” said Jean Fawley, a member of the Highland County Historical Society and a coordinator of the event. “Just come out and enjoy because we’ve got something for everyone and kind of a new thing this year is that we’re doing it in conjunction with the Festival of the Bells so you can take advantage of both things.”
Booths from every township in Highland County will feature historical items from the local communities.
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 Lynchburg historical societies. An archery trailer and a performance by local magician Steve Farris, who gave a history presentation about magic, were new attractions to last year’s Pioneer Day.
Pioneer Day was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19. Event organizers estimated that about 500 people visited Pioneer Day each year when it was held in 2019 and 2021.
According to John Kellis, one of last year’s event organizers, Pioneer Day was initially planned to be a biennial event held on years when the historical society’s Tour of Homes was not being held. The event 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. She said the group demonstrates how to make Appalachian crafts, and a trailer will be set up the entire day to teach archery.
“We’ve got something new — it’s Appraisal Day — and you can bring an item that you want to know what it’s worth or find out some information on it, and it’s $5 per item, and we have local appraisers that will come and give you a ballpark figure of what it’s worth in the Highland County marketplace,” Fawley said.
Pioneer Day kicks off at 9 a.m. with a pancake and sausage breakfast for $6 for adults and $3 for children. Money raised from the appraisals, breakfast and a bake sale inside the Scott House will benefit the historical society.
The magic show will return this year, and antique tractors and other machinery will be displayed. Local artists will be painting on canvasses in various mediums and blacksmiths will be demonstrating their craft.
Area Boy Scouts will raise and retire the flag for the event which will also include children’s activities on the third floor of the Scott House, a reading room with vintage newspapers, and lunch from Poppy’s Hot Dogs.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.