While Shakespeare, Wild West style, continues its run this summer at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, coming up July 24 is the annual “Spirit of ’47 Jubilee” from 10 am to 5 pm. Heritage Center Director David Sidwell said the event features authentic pioneer activities for the entire family. “We are devoted to preserving our heritage and celebrating it,” said Sidwell, “and what an opportunity when the 24th of July comes. “As part of our nonprofit mission, we really want to show people how fun and exciting history can be, and this festival really shines as an event that is authentic and fun. “We have more than just a pioneer site here so it becomes a little challenging for us to think about having each of our sites with fun activities that day. Even our 1917 farm has a big wild west marbles competition, with prizes, so that will be fun.” Sidwell said the star of the show is the pioneer settlement. “In addition to the living history stuff and fiber arts – it’s a part of our fiber arts week that week – you see quilts and things like that when you come. We’ve got a big, giant pioneer water party and Bridgerland games. Some may remember Bridgerland games from the Festival of the American West when it was on campus.” The end of the festival at 5:00 marks the start of the Pioneer Handcart Progressive Dinner. “You push and pull a handcart to the various parts of your dinner. The first stop might be for your salad, the next stop might be for your soup and so on. It’s become traditional at the first stop to have a watermelon seed spitting contest.” One of the special guests at the event will be Ray Howser. “He’s bringing his cannons and his gatling gun,” said Sidwell. “He’s got a one of a kind, civil war gatling gun. It’s in perfect condition. He keeps it well oiled and well maintained. It’s an impressive gun and if you like noise and you like that kind of stuff, it’s just a hoot.” In the meantime at the Heritage Center wild west Shakespeare continues it’s regular run, “A Whole Lot of Fussin’ Over Nothin’ or Much Ado About Nothing.” “It’s an adaptive version of Shakespeare’s play, it’s musical, it’s comedy, and there are gunfights. What more could you ask?”
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