Heck­ler­fest shows off the past at L. Sal­ford farm­stead

Souderton Independent - - FOOTBALLPREVIEWS - By Bob Keeler

Pam DiFabrizio helped out with last year’s Heck­ler­fest, but counts demon­strat­ing can­dle­mak­ing this yHDr DV WHH firVW WLPH VHH RI­fiFLDOOy vol­un­teered.

“I walk here all the time with my dog,” said DiFabrizio, whose home neigh­bors the 36-acre Heck­ler Plains Farm­stead on Lan­dis Road in Lower Sal­ford. “I love this place.”

Heck­ler­fest, which re-cre­ates a fall har­vest fes­ti­val from ear­lier days, has been held since 1975, Joan DiMaria, pres­i­dent of the Heck­ler Plains Folk­life So­ci­ety, said.

This year, it was on Satur­day, Aug. 25. Ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded can­dle dip­ping, Scheren­snitte (scis­sor cut­ting pa­per), quilt­ing, tin punch­ing and Colo­nial cook­ing. At­ten­dees could also tour the house. Pies were baked in an out­door bake oven.

Alyson Gir­ton, of Har­leysville, said her fam­ily at­tends Heck­ler­fest each year.

Her son, Ben, who is about to be­gin fourth grade at Oak Ridge El­e­men­tary School, said he’s not sure how many can­dles he’s made at Heck­ler­fest over the years, but it’s “a lot.”

The chil­dren have also used tin punch­ing learned at Heck­ler­fest to make Christ­mas presents, Gir­ton said.

“We have some of them on our Christ­mas tree ev­ery year,” Ben said.

As par­tic­i­pants took turns dip­ping wicks into wax, then walk­ing a circle to al­low it to dry be­fore re­turn­ing for an­other layer of wax, DiFabrizio said that in ear­lier days, peo­ple mak­ing can­dles would make a lot at one time, not just one, be­cause of the length of time in­volved in do­ing the job.

“Aren’t you glad you don’t have to make light like this?” she asked a youth at the demon­stra­tion.

“Wal­mart’s a won­der,” he replied.

Justin Weikel, who is en­ter­ing 10th grade at Soud­er­ton Area High School and who was help­ing out with the can­dle­mak­ing demon­stra­tion, said he’s vol­un­teered pre­vi­ous years at Heck­ler­fest, in­clud­ing last year when he peeled ap­ples.

“My par­ents vol­un­teer here and they bring me. I just like it. It’s fun,” Weikel said on why he vol­un­teers for Heck­ler­fest.

Sandy Zim­mer­man, of Quak­er­town, cooked chicken corn soup RvHr D firH, ZHLOH HHr HuVEDQG made sausage.

“We also have bread, but it didn’t get done in the mid­dle, so I put it back in the oven,” Zim­mer­man said.

The bread was kneaded in a large wooden bread trough.

“It’s over 100 years old,” Zim­mer­man said. “It was used mainly for big groups.”

Ven­dors and crafts­peo­ple at this year’s Heck­ler­fest in­cluded “The Acorn Lady,” Mary Caruso, of Telford.

Caruso said she be­gan mak­ing neck­laces and bracelets out of acorns about two years ago while work­ing on ac­tiv­i­ties at Soud­er­ton Men­non­ite Homes.

“I started pick­ing them up just to clear the side­walk,” Caruso said, “and I said, ‘I’ll use them some­how.’”

All the acorns are locally grown and there are dif­fer­ent shapes and col­ors, de­pend­ing on the tree, she said.

“I crawl around on the ground like a squir­rel and then I pick them up,” Caruso said.

“I dry them out­side if the weather’s nice. If not, I dry them in the oven,” she said.

“I have a hard time keep­ing squir­rels away from my dry­ing racks, though,” Caruso said. “Now I have a cat to chase the squir­rels away. I didn’t last year.”

Heck­ler Plains Folk­life So­ci­ety and the Lower Sal­ford His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety host Heck­ler­fest.

“The farm­stead dates back to a land grant from Wil­liam Penn’s three sons,” DiMaria said.

In 1718, Han Reiff pur­chased the site, which later was trans­ferred to Peter Freed, then Freed’s son-in-law Ge­orge Heck­ler.

“It be­came known as Heck­ler’s Plain be­cause of the ge­og­ra­phy here. It stayed in the Heck­ler fam­ily un­til the 1920s,” DiMaria said. “Now it’s one of the Lower Sal­ford Town­ship park sites.”

Ad­mis­sion to Heck­ler­fest was free, but do­na­tions were be­ing ac­cepted for a planned re­place­ment of the barn roof.

“There’s some struc­tural work that needs to be done and a gen­eral re­place­ment of the en­tire roof, so it’s a huge undertaking,” DiMaria said. “We’re go­ing to be ap­ply­ing for grants, but we need a leg up on our funds as well, so that’s what all the pro­ceeds from Heck­ler­fest are go­ing to go to­ward.”

Soud­er­ton In­de­pen­dent pho­tos — SU­SAN KEEN

Clarissa Pil­lon dis­cusses 18th cen­tury house­wifery with Mark and Jeanie Baskin dur­ing Heck­ler­fest.

Ge­orge Vin­ter Sr. shows Cole Jones a game from the 18th cen­tury dur­ing Heck­ler­fest.

Lewis Hill, of Mil­ford Town­ship, heats up a piece of iron to work into a dec­o­ra­tive hook at Heck­ler­fest.

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