STURBRIDGE Old Sturbridge Village's (OSV) April school vacation week, April 14 to 22, gives kids and families a chance to experience vintage New England spring activities welcoming newborn lambs to the farm, prepping for the planting season, and celebrating the colonial bid for freedom in 1775 on Patriots Day, April 16.
Visitors of all ages will enjoy greeting new arrivals to the farm, and children can drill as colonial Minutemen and make their own musket cartridges and tri-corner hats. A host of spring-oriented crafts and other activities will be on tap throughout the week.
This year, OSV farmers are hoping to greet anywhere from eight to 12 newborn lambs in April (and some may be twins), with additional lambs due in May. The Village's sheep are Gulf Coast Natives a heritage breed dating back to the arrival of Spanish settlers in the New World in the 1500s. These sheep most closely resemble the Merino sheep raised on New England farms in the early 19th century.
Patriots Day on April 16 is particularly special at OSV. Visitors will see a recreation of the 1775 muster of Sturbridge, when the local militia gathered in response to news of the battles at Lexington and Concord that marked the start of the Revolutionary War. Fifers and drummers will play throughout the day, and performances during the day will include songs and stories of the patriots who rose up against the British. Children can make tri-corner hats, learn how to drill and march as Minutemen, and they can see how musket balls are made at the Village's Small House. At the Craft Center, for a small fee, they can forge an iron hook, and make their own musket cartridges with paper, musket balls and safe, non-active "gunpowder."
Highlighting April Vacation Week is the two-day "Farm Fervor" Discovery Adventure program on April 17 and 18. Children ages 6 to 17 can dress in period costumes and take part in many of the activities that were typical for an 1830s New England Village: helping Village farmers get ready for the growing season; making a trellis to start young peas for planting, cooking over the open hearth, creating a 19th-century craft, interacting with costumed historians, and grafting an heirloom apple tree to take home, plant, and watch it grow.
A series of one-day, non-costumed "Exploration Adventures" introduces kids ages 6 to 14 to Native American traditions, forest secrets, period chocolate-making and more. Registration is now open for both Farm Fervor adventures and Exploration Adventures.
Throughout the week, kids can enjoy songs, stories, and puppet shows, and also take part in a wide variety of hands-on activities relating to the 19th-century rural spring experience. The Village Craft Center gives kids the opportunity to make many of the things that their peers might have made in the 1830s, including (for a small fee) hand-dipped candles, tin sconces, and a dibble (a small handmade garden tool of the period).
They can also take part in a host of other simple toy-making, weaving or sewing projects.
Children visiting the Village can help churn butter or make an herbal sachet, seed packet or paper spiral snake toy. And over the weekend of April 14 and 15 at the Freeman Farm, staffers will demonstrate the craft of soap-making.
For times and details of all OSV activities, visit www.osv.org or call 1-800-SEE-1830.
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