By Kimberly Lewis
For 47 years, the Carroll County Historical Society members and volunteers have brought a pioneer village to life and, with it, a tradition for families near and far. The Algonquin Mill Festival features steam-powered equipment, living-history demonstrations, crafts, food and music October 13-15, 2017, at the farm complex, located five miles south of Carrollton on State Route 332. For three days, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., visitors can step back in time to discover the art of weaving rugs, quilting, milling and more. Admission is $8 per vehicle.
Standing on the grass field serving as the parking lot at the Algonquin Mill Complex, the sounds of the steam-powered machinery can be heard beckoning visitors to explore. A small train makes its circle carrying children, and surrounded by a display of farm equipment. On top of the hill, wood shingles and planks are being made. You are invited to stamp one of the shingles with Algonquin Mill and take it home. Nearby are a variety of artisans selling lawn ornaments, handmade jewelry, wooden toys and more. You can also pick up some mums to decorate your home and possibly a pumpkin or two for your doorstep.
Within the village, the steam-driven flour mill can be seen making stone-ground cornmeal, whole-wheat, spelt and buckwheat flour, which is sold at the mill. The farmhouse has rugs, potholders and quilts made by the historical society members on display and available for purchase. At the log stagecoach inn, weaving is demonstrated as well as other fiber arts as you tour the home. Take a moment to view the festival from the upstairs balcony. In front of the inn, a horse can be seen milling sorghum canes to make sorghum. There is also a barn filled with antique farm equipment and another which features local artists. Children are invited to “build” a barn, as well as doing crafts. They can also get “schooled” at the one-room schoolhouse.
If you ask the locals and the out-of-towners alike, they will tell you about the sauerkraut that they purchase by the pints and quarts. Volunteers and members of the Carroll County Historical Society spend a few days in August washing, shredding and seasoning between 8,000 and 9,000 pounds of cabbage. The sauerkraut is made from scratch with an assembly line precision of nearly 20 seasoned sauerkraut makers. It also is only available during the festival and is usually gone by early Sunday. If you want to try it, you can sample the society’s cabbage rolls or sauerkraut soup. Society members also make delicious apple butter (plain, sugar free and cinnamon) to be sold by the pint in the country store. If you cannot wait to try it, you can have some slathered on a slice of homemade bread.
The food vendors are actually local organizations and this event serves as a major fundraiser for their groups. The Carrollton Civic Club offers a pancake breakfast. Other organizations staffing the food stations include the Carroll County Volunteer Fire Department, Free and Accepted Masons, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Dellroy Ruritans, several churches and other groups.
For train enthusiasts, an old New York Central Railroad Station is the home of an HO-model train exhibit. Malvern and Minerva historical societies have displays in one of the log cabins, while members of the Algonquin Spinners and Weavers offer demonstrations in another. Throughout the event music can be heard from one of two stages. Country, bluegrass and gospel bands take the stage Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, area high-school bands and choirs perform as their classmates tour the festival. The Algonquin Mill Fall Festival has become a tradition for many and continues to build a following from new enthusiasts.
While you are in the area visit the McCook House Civil War Museum, located at the top of the square and operated by the historical society. It will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 per person. As you travel through Carrollton, you are invited to stop and check out Carrollton’s Scarecrows on the Square. Decorated by individuals, organizations and businesses, the scarecrows are creative, informative and fun. The scarecrows line up along Public Square throughout the weekend. To learn more about the Algonquin Mill Festival or other events in Carroll County, see www.carrollcountyohio.com.
Algonquin Mill Festival