Bringing the past to life

Indian Summer Days returns to Heritage Park Saturday

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 5, 2007 - Imagine a simpler, if not quieter time, when pioneers worked the land, women wore bonnets and long dresses they sewed themselves, brothers fought all-out in battles between the North and South, Native Americans danced, and supper was cooked in Dutch ovens.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

A team of Civil War re-enactors return to Heritage Park Saturday for Indian Summer Days.

And you can see it all come alive Saturday, beginning at about 9 a.m., during Indian Summer Days at Hopkins County Historical Society’s Heritage Park, located at 415 Jackson St.

The much-anticipated John Chester Dutch Oven Cookoff will be hosted for the third year, with 18 cooking teams signed up so far and room for any others willing to pit their skills against them.

Teams consist of two cooks who provide all their own food, plus the $25 entry fee. Each team will be tasked with preparing a meat which must be USDA approved, vegetable, bread and dessert on the park grounds. Scoring is based on preparation of the four foods as well as presentation.

Anyone not already registered who would like to participate can simply show up at Hopkins County Historical Park Saturday morning with the items they need, fill out the registration form, pay the fee and get started, according to historical society member Rick Wilson, who is coordinating the cookoff.

�Meals must be ready for judging at 11 a.m. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three teams. All food cooked will become property of the historical society to be sold as a fundraiser. The general public can sample any and all of the entries beginning at 11:30 a.m. for a $5 fee.

�Two local Dutch Oven contestants, Don Meeks and Chris Givens, will also be setting up authentic chuckwagons to be enjoyed by all.

�Making special appearances this year will be the Civil War re-enactment group that was such a hit last year, as well as two Native American dance teams and various entertainers performing off and on throughout the day.

�The Civil War re-enactment group, like many of the Historical Society members participating in Indian Summer Days, will be in period costume, representing the men from Hopkins County who fought in the Civil War.

��The Civil War folks do a beautiful show. They�ll have a medical unit and cannoneer unit,� Wilson said. "The Native American dancers are always great, so neat to watch. The head performer is out of Idabel, Oklahoma, and some of East Texas� Native American dancers are expected to show. They really give a great performance."

�Also, those attending will have a chance to get a gander at the restored 1929 fire truck and other repairs in the fire station. All of the historic buildings and homes can be toured, and the general store will be open with items which can be purchased as souvenirs.

�There will also be the usual favorites, such as the tin punch, woodcarving, soap making and candle making, as well as other primitive arts and crafts which park visitors can participate in and learn from.

�Indian Summer Days has been hosted by Hopkins County Historical Society for at least 15 years on the first Saturday of October. The event begins around 9 a.m. and will begin winding down around 3 p.m.

�HCHS will then begin preparing for its annual Christmas in the Park, slated for Nov. 24 and Nov. 30.

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