Historical Society tentatively plans for Pioneer Days this fall

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The Madison County Historical Society plans to reinstate Pioneer Days this fall after a year off due to COVID-19.

(Posted April 27, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

As long as it is safe to do so, Pioneer Days will be back on the fall schedule for the Madison County Historical Society.

The event was one of many the Society cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers have tentatively set this year’s Pioneer Days for Sept. 25. There is a chance they will add a second day, extending the festivities through Sept. 26.

“We will wait to see what happens with the virus and regulations. We’ll know more as we get closer,” said Ned DeCamp, director of the Historical Society museum.

In 2019, more than 400 people attended Pioneer Days on the museum grounds at 260 E. High St., London. The event features historical displays and reenactors, food and merchandise vendors, and demonstrations ranging from apple cider pressing to cooking over a campfire. All the buildings on the grounds are open for tours. Among them are Jonathan Alder’s cabin, the Elizabeth Kitchen log house, a one-room schoolhouse, a barn filled with antique farm equipment, and the museum. The grounds also feature a caboose.

This year, if all goes well, organizers hope to hold a kids’ camp the morning of Sept. 25, prior to the start of Pioneer Days at noon. The camp would be open to second- through fourth-graders.

“Usually, we do a three-day camp in early June, but we can’t this year due to health regulations,” DeCamp said.

He added that he is excited at the prospect of reinstating Pioneer Days.

“It’s our big event of the year. The more people who come to the museum and grounds, the better off we are,” he said.

While COVID-19 has had a big impact on the Historical Society’s offerings over the past year, it hasn’t completely shut down operations. The museum was closed for a few months at the start of the pandemic but returned to normal hours in June and has remained open ever since. Normal hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays.

The Historical Society is starting to welcome small groups of school-aged children to spend half-days at the museum, something they haven’t done for the past year. In the next few weeks, a group of homeschooled children and a group of Mennonite children are scheduled to visit.

The public schools have not been doing field trips, but the Historical Society recently welcomed a couple of teachers to tour the buildings and take home educational material to share with their classes. One of the teachers also video-recorded her visit to share with her students.

Another event back on the Historical Society’s schedule: the Madison County Fair. After a year away, the organization will set up displays in what served as a dining hall and then a poultry barn many years ago.

To learn more about the Historical Society or to volunteer, call the museum at (740) 852-2977. The organization also can be found on Facebook at “Madison County Ohio Historical Society.”

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