‘WinterFest’ at Old Sturbridge Village set for School Vacation Week Feb. 14-22
Highlights include sleigh rides, sledding, snow and ice sculptures
Antique Sleigh Rally returns Feb. 21
Half-price admission for adults through Feb. 28
STURBRIDGE, Mass. (Feb. 9, 2015): The snowy winter of 2015 has one silver lining – Old Sturbridge Village has turned into a winter wonderland, and conditions are perfect for its upcoming WinterFest celebration, set for Feb. 14-22 during School Vacation Week. (The Village’s half-price “WinterWonderful” admission applies for all adults, parents, and grandparents through Feb. 28). WinterFest highlights include daily sleigh rides, sledding, and snow sculpture activities, Valentine’s Day festivities, Presidents’ Day performances, and ice sculpting demonstrations. The annual Antique Sleigh Rally returns on Sat. Feb. 21, with dozens of vintage horse drawn sleighs competing.
Throughout the WinterFest celebration, visitors can warm up inside with a variety of indoor crafts, 19th-century magic shows, and talks by Village historians on the history of ice skating, sleighs, and sleighing traditions. And in honor Washington’s Birthday, everyone named “George” or “Martha” will receive free admission on Presidents’ Day weekend Feb. 14-16. Lodging packages are available at the Village’s own Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges, located adjacent to the museum. For all WinterFest times and details: 800-SEE-1830; www.osv.org.
Valentines and Chocolates – Saturday, Feb. 14
Old Sturbridge Village historians will celebrate the history of Valentines in America and demonstrate old-fashioned chocolate-making by processing chocolate by hand using cacao beans. Hearthside cooking demonstrations will feature chocolate cakes, biscuits and 19th-century style hot chocolate. Guests can create their own Valentines and learn about Valentine history from a Village interpreter portraying Esther Howland, who started the Valentine industry in Worcester, Mass. in 1847. Howland began making fancy hand-made cards and expanded to commercial production, eventually selling her flourishing business to the Whitney Valentine Company.
George Washington and American Patriots – Sunday, Feb. 15
In a young America trying to find a sense of unity, George Washington became an almost mythical figure, exemplifying all of the virtues citizens aspired to and admired. Old Sturbridge Village historians will present Tunes and Tales of George Washington and will demonstrate how early Americans gave toasts in his honor. Feet will be tapping as the Old Sturbridge Village dancers present the Village's annual Washington Birthday Ball. Before the Ball, Village historians will present Her Crowning Glory, demonstrating how ladies in the early 1800s styled their hair (using bear grease and sausage curls) and will discuss early 19th-century Fashions for the Ball.
Presidents’ Day – Monday, Feb. 16
Presidents’ Day activities will expand beyond George Washington to focus on two less famous presidents – Calvin Coolidge and William Henry Harrison. Actor Jim Cooke of Cranky Yankees will portray the 30th U.S. president, “Silent Cal” Coolidge, who was famous for his taciturn manner and Yankee wit. Old Sturbridge Village historian Jim O’Brien will present Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too – the 1840 Presidential Election in Song and Story.
Winter Magic – Tuesday, Feb. 17 and Thursday, Feb. 19
In addition to the daily outdoor offerings of sleigh rides, sledding, and snow sculpture activities, historian Bob Olson will present three performances of his popular Nineteenth Century Family Magic Show. In character as pioneering 19th-century magician Richard Potter, Olson will amaze young and old with his 1800s-style sleight- of- hand. See a two-minute Magic Show video.
Ice Sculpting – Wednesday, Feb. 18 and Friday, Feb. 20
Ice sculptors from Images in Ice will be on hand for a three-hour ice carving demonstration, creating an antique sleigh ice sculpture from two large blocks of ice. The ice sculptors are members of National Ice Carving Association, and will demonstrate the most advanced ice carving techniques while adhering to traditional sculpting principles.
Antique Sleigh Rally – Saturday, Feb. 21
Old Sturbridge Village’s annual Antique Sleigh Rally returns, with dozens of vintage sleighs pulled by a variety of horses – from tiny miniature horses to giant Clydesdales. The Sleigh Rally begins at 11:00 a.m. and drivers will compete in a dozen different classes, including the popular “Sleigh Dog” and “Currier & Ives” divisions, where drivers dress in 19th-century costumes. See a two-minute Sleigh Rally video. Visitors can also warm up inside and hear presentations by Village historians on The History of Sleighs and Sleighing, and The History of Ice Skates and Skating.