TURBOTVILLE — Annual visitors to Heritage Days are familiar with some of the talents, skills and tasty treats found over the two days each fall on the grounds of the Warrior Run School District and historic Hower-Slote House.
Dig a little deeper, though, and you can uncover some of the area’s history that were it not for events such as Heritage Days, may soon disappear.
Take John DeWald Jr., of Pennsdale, for example. He is but one of 14 master horners left... on the planet.
“I started my first piece when I was 12 years old,” he said, while completing the scroll work on a piece prior to engraving. “I do this when I can. I have a three-year backlog of work. It’s a passion.”
He’s a member of a worldwide guild dedicated to preserving the work. His dedication to preserving the craft is, in part, why so many from so far come to Heritage Days each year.
“From freeman to master, it took me seven years,” he said.
Masters, journeymen and apprentices all displayed various skills over the two days, and visitors also got to see a reenactment of the Battle of Fort Freeland.
Brandon Wood, who served with the 3rd Pennsylvania Augusta Regiment, came from Elmira, N.Y., to take part in Heritage Days. He got interested in what he calls a hobby when he was in elementary school.
Warrior Run fosters a program for young students interested in preserving the skills on display each fall at Heritage Days.
Beau Rovenolt, 14, is a student at the middle school. He manned a bellow while working a steel rod into a flower pot hanger. A year into the process of learning the craft, he noted the steel rod is heated, cut to length and formed.
Jocelyn Walburn and Taylor Hontz are sixth graders at Warrior Run. They worked with Mackenzie Hailer to make potato candy and popcorn.
“The (time) process depends,” sad Walburn. “It takes a while to get the texture, but once you get the texture, you can roll it into a ball and it’s good to go.”
Eighth-grader Brooquelyn Dunkle and freshman Nora Styer were making horseradish — from scratch. The roots were pulled from the earth Friday and then washed, peeled and cut. Horseradish was used in many ways hundreds of years ago, and not only here, but abroad as well. It flavored meat and was even used for medicinal purposes.
Alayna Hemphill, a freshman at Temple University, was there for her eighth Heritage Days. She explained the process involved with candle making. The process can take hours to craft a candle, she said.
“You dip the wicks into the wax and watch as it forms a candle,” she said. “They cool, then you dip again until you have a candle.”
Heritage Days is staged annually by the Warrior Run-Fort Freeland Heritage Society. For more information, visit www.freelandfarm.org.