Marshville Festival embraces history

By Michelle Allenberg, Tribune Staff

Thousands of people enjoyed a walk through time during the 29th annual Marshville Heritage Festival in Wainfleet during the long weekend.


Festival chairperson Margaret Robertson said the event is a celebration and a reminder of how Wainfleet began.

The festival included activities, demonstrations and goods that could be found during the 1850s and onward.

The family-orientated event had people dressed in period costumes to add to the authentic feel. Demonstrations included that of a printing press from 1894, a wood burner creating wooden Marshville keepsakes, a broom maker and much more.

“Everyone has put a lot of work into doing it and they want to showcase what they are doing … There are probably about 100 crafters here,” Robertson said.

The Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum drew a crowd of onlookers during the festival. The museum has attended the festival for about 15 years. Ron Shroder, museum chairman, said being at the event is the best way to get people interested in the museum and printing history.

“It’s the best little museum no one has heard of,” he said with a laugh.

Shroder and fellow museum volunteers demonstrated how the printing press worked, by making calenders for the upcoming year. Shroder said it takes a great deal of work to get the press up and running, but it’s worth it because people seem to enjoy watching it in operation.

A highlight for Robertson during the event was the car show. Saturday vehicles from the 1950s and older were on display. Sunday vehicles between 1950 and 1984 were showcased. Monday included vintage motorcycles and English car clubs.

For Robertson, continuing the Marshville Heritage Festival is important to the community. She said if it doesn’t continue, people won’t know the history of the 1850s and their roots.

Robertson said people in Wainfleet during the 1800s worked extremely hard. It was a farming community and there was no technology or special equipment that could make farming easier.

“They probably played little and they brought up big families, usually. I think life was generally hard for them, but they were happy,” she said.

Robertson said every year there is a large variety of food to choose from at the festival. The big draw was soup on an open fire, apple butter, and a pig on a spit.

While people ate, they got to enjoy live entertainment, including music and a juggler.

About 400 volunteers made the three-day festival a success. Robertson said some of those volunteers have been coming for almost 30 years and they keep coming back. She said all she has to do is call or email them and they’re ready to help.

“They just love it here, they think it’s worthwhile for the community,” she said.

Twitter: @M_Allenberg


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