YOUNGSTOWN -- The smell of hot cider, spices and roasted chestnuts wafted through the brisk air at
YOUNGSTOWN -- The smell of hot cider, spices and roasted chestnuts wafted through the brisk air at the 18th annual Olde Fashioned Christmas at the Mill over the weekend at Lanterman's Mill in Mill Creek Park.
Several thousand people stepped into the past as the mill was transformed into an earlier, simpler time and filled with crafts, artisans, entertainment and refreshments.
Chestnuts heated over a smoky grill quickly caught the attention of visitors who were offered a sampling of the kind of chestnuts many only hear about in "The Christmas Song."
Scott Renz of Newton Falls, who had worked at Mill Creek Park while attending Youngstown State University, said he has volunteered to do chestnut roasting for the event for the past 14 years.
In a different era, blacksmiths played an important role in early American life. Bob Kurz of Canfield demonstrated the art outside the mill as many gathered around him.
Not only does he fashion horseshoes from hot metal, but he also uses his blacksmithing talents to make ornamental railings, fireplace tools and other metal art. He said one piece of his work, a metal pheasant, is on a railing at the Globe Theater in London, where the works of William Shakespeare were first performed.
"I enjoy doing this work. It's handcrafted and one-of-a-kind," said Kurz, who has 30 years' experience. He got his start in the blacksmith shop of Republic Steel.
Just inside the old grist mill, David White and Bob Rannard showed how the old craft of carving can still have an appeal in modern times. Starting their business eight years ago in Pulaski, Pa., the men not only do cabinet making and furniture restorations, they also carve wooden floral arrangements.
"The wooden flowers are especially popular for weddings, because they can be kept forever and they keep their brilliant colors," Rannard said. He said he is making bride bouquets, groom boutonnieres and mother-of-the-bride corsages for eight weddings.
Rannard said the carving of wooden flowers dates back eight centuries, originating in Scandinavian and northern Europe.
Linda Surace of Columbiana has been a weaver the past 21 years, making colorful rugs and purses. Her special craft is her thrums angels, which hung on the White House Christmas tree in 1993 when the theme was American crafts. The angel is now in the Smithsonian Institution as a part of its permanent angel collection.
"Thrums is the weaver's word for warp threads that are left over when a weaving is completed. Hence, she is recycled," Surace explained.
Her mother, Alberta Klipple, who joined her at the holiday event, taught her how to weave on a loom.
Potters, candlemakers and quilters also participated in the Olde Fashioned Christmas. A bagpiper, folk group and a juggler also entertained.
Jolly old St. Nick was also on the scene to take the Christmas wish lists of children.
The history of Lanterman's Mill dates to 1799. Its current structure, used as a grist mill, was built in 1845-46 by German Lanterman and his brother-in-law Samuel Kimberly and operated successfully until it closed in 1888. Renovation of the mill began in 1982 and was completed in 1989.