Old Sturbridge Village Winter Weekends
January 23, 2014

Old Sturbridge Village is a favorite with kids and families who love to imagine what life was like in an earlier era. The 19th-century rural village recreated here features costumed historians, antique buildings, water-powered mills and a working farm.

And although many of the attractions are outside, the living history museum stays open anyway. Even better, now through the end of March, kids get in free for the living history museum’s Winter Weekends. A host of special performances and winter-themed crafts are planned, as well as horse-drawn sleigh rides and sledding on old-fashioned sleds.

Regular activities include visiting with the farmers as they go about their winter chores. Kids can help as the farmers build and fix fences and care for the sheep, cows, oxen, and chickens. Inside the houses, costumed interpreters can be found cooking, knitting, weaving, and sewing. Your kids might see that their chores are a tad bit easier than their 19th-century counterparts. They’ll also learn what school was like when half the year was spent working on a farm.

Several special activities are planned for upcoming weekends, but the Antique Sleigh Rally on February 1st should be quite an event. More than 20 horse-drawn sleighs will be on display and visitors can learn all about the popular 19th century sledding parties. The sleigh rally competition will feature vintage sleighs pulled by a variety of horse breeds including Haflinger, Gypsy, Morgan, Arabian, Clydesdale, Percheron, and miniature horses. Participants will compete for prizes in a dozen different divisions including “Sleigh Dog” and “Currier & Ives.”

Visitors can take sleigh rides around the common, learn period dances, and make invitations printed on an old-fashioned printing press. Old Sturbridge offered up some fun facts about sleighs, including that Bob Sleighs have "Bobs," which are double runners that make them more maneuverable and easy to turn sharply and that sleigh bells were developed as a safety precaution. Because sleighs glide so silently over the snow, the jingling sounds prevented collisions, especially in the dark.

Other themed weekends include:
Be Mine: Chocolate and Valentines on February 8-9
Washington’s Birthday Celebration on February 15-17
Maple Days on March 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23
Celtic Celebration on March 15-16
Native American Weekend on March 29-30

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Ask your kids to sit quietly outside, close their eyes, and listen to the different sounds around them for a set time (try one minute). How many sounds did they hear? Were they all made by people?



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