EXCHANGE PLACE WILL HOLD THEIR VERY FIRST HERITAGE AUTUMN SUNDAY ON OCTOBER 17
This autumn belongs to Exchange Place. Following the very successful return of the Fall Folk Arts Festival in late September, the Living History Farm will be producing two more events in October that are guaranteed to add color and excitement to a season that is always known for its color and excitement.
On Sunday, October 17, from 2 pm until 4:30 pm, we will hold our very first Heritage Autumn Sunday. Admission is $5 per person, with those under the age of 12 admitted free. As always, all proceeds go towards the care of the farm’s resident animals, and the continued restoration and preservation of the site, located at 4812 Orebank Road in Kingsport. It will follow in the footsteps of the Heritage Summer Sunday inaugurated back in August, and will honor the beauty and creativity of fall with an afternoon filled with individual ingenuity, common among the artisans who can often be found at Exchange Place.
Three prominent craftspeople will be displaying their skills. Isaac Hendershot is a blacksmith and iron worker who has been “forging in fire” since 2015, and demonstrating at Exchange Place for the past three years. In the years before the War Between the States, a blacksmith was a very essential person in every community, and Isaac will put those skills on display, and answer questions, in our blacksmith shop. Vickie Almaroad, a member of the Overmountain Weavers Guild and a producer of flax and linen, will show how one can process flax into fiber. (Other members of the Guild will be demonstrating their skills in the fiber arts.) And Joy Smith, who has been making baskets for more than three decades, will demonstrate different types of basket making, including Nantucket, Shaker, and simple market baskets.
Exchange Place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and one of the prime reasons is that several of our buildings are original to the site, having been built by either the Gaines or Preston families after the conclusion of the War of 1812. Many of these priceless buildings will feature our knowledgeable volunteers, who will be happy to expound on the history of each structure, as well as offer up other juicy tidbits that will help place the farmstead within the context of life in Northeast Tennessee in the early 19th century. The garden, which logically sits next to the kitchen, will also be staffed with Master Gardeners, who will be able to describe what is grown there, and how each item was used by families in the antebellum years.
And of course, people love seeing and interacting with our resident animals. Included among our flock of sheep are some who were born just this past spring! They are joined by two roosters, seven hens and a chick; a horse; a Shorthorn milking cow; a Jerusalem donkey; and a pair of American Guinea hogs. They will all be visible, with some of them accessible for a “meet-and-greet” in the 1851 barn.
Now, in our very first paragraph, we mentioned that Exchange Place has two major events scheduled for October. In addition to the Heritage Autumn Sunday on October 17, the extremely popular Witches Wynd will be held, and like last year will be a virtual affair, due to the continued presence of COVID-19.
This will be the 29th consecutive year that we will be offering tales of mystery and the supernatural, told by some of the finest storytellers in our region. This 2021 edition will also feature music and a very special introduction from Billee Moore, who created Witches Wynd for Exchange Place more than a quarter of a century ago. More complete information will be released next week.
Exchange Place is a living history farm whose mission is to preserve and interpret the heritage of mid-nineteenth century farm life in Northeast Tennessee. Exchange Place is a non-profit organization maintained and operated entirely by volunteers and is supported by donations, fundraisers, memberships and grants.
We may be tired of hearing it, but the COVID-19 virus continues to dominate our thinking as to what to do and how to do it. In the case of Exchange Place, the Steering Committee decided that the Fall Folk Arts Festival could be held in September as a modified, outdoor-only event, and that proved to be very successful. However, the always-popular Witches Wynd (that second word is pronounced “why-nd,” rhymes with “kind”), does not have that luxury. These in-person, Halloween-themed series of stories are best told live and inside many of the antebellum structures that allow Exchange Place to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This means that some two-dozen audience members are shoulder-to-shoulder with one another in small, enclosed spaces, the type of environment in which the virus thrives.
It is not our goal to allow COVID-19 to breed. It IS our goal, however, to continue our long-standing tradition of providing quality stories. Therefore, for this 29th edition, we will, for the second consecutive year, offer Witches Wynd as a virtual affair.
Beginning on Friday, October 22 and available right through October 31 – Halloween night, when witches ride the night sky – you will be able to log onto witcheswynd.com and experience tales of the macabre, the paranormal, the unexplained, all from the comfort of your home. Exchange Place is suggesting a donation of $10.00, which can be paid right at the time of viewing with any major credit card. Please note that if you want to watch this special Witches Wynd more than once, you will be asked to make the $10.00 donation each time. However, unlike previous years, when people were only able to attend on the Friday and Saturday nights prior to Halloween, this year there will be multiple opportunities to log on and hear these marvelous stories.
This year’s event will be a little different than it was last year. We are offering four major storytellers:
Judy (Butterfly) Farlow is a woman of many talents and personalities. She has been educating and performing for more than twenty years, from backyard picnics to the White House. A national award-winning storyteller, she is a performing member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, participates with the National Storytelling Network, and has appeared at numerous festivals and events, including Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Tales and Tunes, and the Virginia Renaissance Faire.
Agnese Goin holds a master’s degree in storytelling from East Tennessee State University. Until COVID wreaked havoc with our lives, she had been a Storyteller in Residence at Lincoln Elementary School and Washington Elementary School, and freely admitted that teaching storytelling to children had been the highlight of her week.
Hannah Harvey, Ph.D., is a nationally-known storyteller and award-winning teacher, with a doctorate in oral history performance (performance ethnography). She has performed at the National Storytelling Festival, the International Fringe Festival in Scotland, Yale University, and in three storytelling programs with The Great Courses. Dr. Harvey specializes in Appalachian oral histories, and has worked as a consultant for physicians, pastors, and psychiatrists on the power of storytelling to shape cultural identity.
Judy Womack has been a professional storyteller and actor for more than thirty years. Her use of dramatic movement and the spoken word allows stories to come alive, and encourages listeners to stretch their imaginations. A past recipient of the Arts Council of Kingsport’s Distinguished Artist Award, she has conducted drama and storytelling workshops at Barter Theatre, the Kingsport Ballet and Theatre Bristol, among other venues.
And we are also offering two very special guests:
Katie Hoffman, Ph. D., will be providing music throughout the program. A scholar of Appalachian cultural heritage with a doctorate in English, she is the founder of Appalworks, a company that focuses on different aspects of Appalachian culture, history, and heritage, and weaves them into programs that educate and entertain. She is a talented singer/songwriter, and has been singing, playing, and lecturing about traditional Appalachian music for over three decades.
Billee Moore has been a volunteer at Exchange Place for more than forty years, which included serving for several years as the Chair of the Steering Committee. She was the person who created Witches Wynd back in the early 1990s, and for this virtual edition, Billee opens the program with her exclusive memory of how this event came to be.
For more information, please call Exchange Place at 423-288-6071.
Exchange Place is a non-profit, volunteer-run living history farm, educational facility and regional attraction that seeks to preserve, protect, interpret, and manage the history, heritage, and artifacts pertaining to mid-19th century farm life in Northeast Tennessee.