Living History: October 2000

Living History: October 2000

Autumn's best bets for celebrating your heritage and bringing the past to life.

BRIDGEPORT AND NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

Amistad Weighs Anchor

From keel to mast, the 129-foot schooner Amistad is one big, floating American history lesson. Sailing from port to port, this replica of a 19th century slave ship tells its tangible tale of an 1839 slave revolt that prompted the first civil rights case in the US Supreme Court (celebrated in Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film). Since March, the “freedom schooner” has been sailing to ports along the East Coast to teach all who come aboard about its history with exhibits and specially designed curriculum. The Amistad will dock at Bridgeport, Conn., from Aug. 26-Sept l and at Long Wharf Pier in New Haven, Conn., from Sept 2-Oct. 8. The ship continues its voyage along the East Coast in 2001 and heads inland to the Great Lakes in 2002. Learn more about the Amistad at <www.amistadamerica.org> or call (860) 536-6003.

– Susan Wenner
 

SOLVANC, CALIFORNIA

DEFINITELY DANISH

Experience Scandinavia in California with Danish Days.The annual weekend festival in the village of Solvang, 26 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, features dances, stories, legends, crafts and foods of Danish origin. The idyllic village also hosts year-round cultural events and features traditional architecture, including a half-scale replica of the Little Mermaid statue. Visiting Danes have described their experience as “more like Denmark than Denmark.” Other attractions include antique shops, wineries, scenic Cachuma Lake, Najoqui Falls and hiking and biking trails. Danish Days takes place Sept. 15-17. For more information, call (800) 468-6765 or visit <www.solvangusa.com>.
 
— Dena Eben

 

MONROE, WISCONSIN

Say Cheese!

Fill in the holes of your Swiss family history with Cheese Days in Monroe, Wise, the state’s top cheese producer and center of “cheesehead” culture. Local lore has it that a late-1800s ordinance prevented the open-wagon transport or storage of smelly Limburger in the town, but Swiss settlers-turned-cheese-makers protested with a parade of the odorous product and reinstated the industry. The official festival started in 1914, after Monroe businessmen took a cue from “Sauerkraut Day” in Forreston, Ill. Today, Cheese Days is a fully aged ethnic celebration. Events include a factory tour, cheese-making demonstration, music and parade. The festival is held every other year on the third weekend in September, this year on Sept. 15-17. For information, call (608) 325-7771.

– Dena Eben
 

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

GREEN LIGHT FOR GATSBY

Don your fringe skirts and suspenders and swing back to the Jazz Age at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon,hosted by the Art Deco Society of California. This ’20s and ’30s-themed picnic at the Dunsmuir House and Gardens will showcase vintage clothing, music and cars. With a fashion parade, bathing beauty revue and dance contest featuring the Charleston, Fox Trot and Lindy Hop, this event promises to be the cat’s pajamas. To learn more about the fun taking place Sept. 10, call the society at (415) 982-DECO or see <www.art~deco.org>.
 
— Allison Stacy

RUSSELLVILLE, KENTUCKY

Stick ’em Up!

Make a swift getaway toward the Kentucky state line for the Logan County Tobacco Festival and Jesse James Bank Robbery Re-enactment. From October 7-14, Russellville, Ky., will celebrate its present and past, including the town’s most infamous event. Renegade re-enactors will storm the Old Southern Bank, site of the James Gang’s first heist on May 20,1868. Stick around for cemetery and historic walking tours, a craft show, parade and music. Russellville is located between Bowling Green, Ky., and Nashville. For more information, call the Logan County Chamber of Commerce at (502) 726-2206 or visit <www.logantele.com/~logancounty>.
 
— Allison Stacy
 

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

Frightening Festivities

Celebrate Halloween at ground zero of the infamous 1692 witch trials with Salem Haunted Happenings. Since Salem, Mass., couldn’t exorcise its spooky reputation from the 17th century, the town developed a 26-day celebration. This year is the 20th anniversary of the haunting festivities. The official kickoff is Oct. 6, when the Fright Train travels from Boston to Salem with Halloween props and costumed actors. Family fun continues throughout October, including weekend costume balls, psychic fairs, free outdoor concerts and storytelling. Other attractions include Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth house and the House of Seven Gables. For details call (978) 744-0013 or check out <www.salemhauntedhappenings.com>.

– Dena Eben

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