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COLUMBIANA Festival celebrates the Shaker work ethic



Published: Wed, August 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The annual Shaker Woods Festival also celebrates family and fine craftsmanship.

By VERONICA GORLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

COLUMBIANA -- Dressed in full Shaker costumes, 203 craftsmen will demonstrate their skills in the 19th annual Shaker Woods Festival.

The festival takes place in Shaker Woods from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Aug. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26. Admission is $5 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free of charge.

"It's a great place to bring your family," said festival promoter Kenneth McGaffic. "It's a great place to go for a relaxing day. You have entertainment all day, and it's nice and cool in the woods."

Craftsmen from 15 states and Canada will display and sell hand-made baskets, leather work, blacksmithing, pottery, quilts, jewelry and woodwork. One of the featured artists is from Germany -- a fifth-generation craftsman of cuckoo clocks.

Entertainment: In addition to the craft displays, there will be entertainment on three stages and strolling through the woods. Food vendors selling original Shaker dishes cooked over an open fire and traditional tastes will be available.

The Children's Order, art classes for children under age 6, will take place in the newly constructed Shaker Schoolhouse. An adult tole painting class will be available daily, but class sizes are limited, and early reservations are suggested. All art classes will require a nominal fee.

"We get thousands of people to come," McGaffic said. "It will be a tremendous turnout this year."

"It brings a large percentage of people into the county," he continued. "It's a great way to help promote Columbiana County."

Honoring the Shakers: The festival celebrates the 18th century Shaker community, which held the motto, "Hand to work, hearts to God," said Sue Ferguson, who founded the festival with her husband Sam. Shakers invented a number of time-saving devices, including the washing machine, spinning wheel, clothes pins and packaged seeds. Shaker furniture is renowned for its simplistic beauty and fine workmanship.

"They were so far ahead of their time," Ferguson said. "They invented stuff to make like easier for them. They truly excelled."

Out of the more than 1,200 applicants for the festival, the Fergusons select craftsmen that display Shaker work ethic and whose crafts carry on the tradition of fine workmanship.

"It has grown beyond what we had imagined," Ferguson said. "People are so busy going separate ways, but when they step through these gates, they step into another world -- back in time to relaxation and family."




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