Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Pemberville fest whips up butter along with history


Dennis and Debra Billow of Clyde make apple butter at the annual Autumn Fest in downtown Pemberville.

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PEMBERVILLE - The sounds of shots from muzzleloader rifles and the clunking of horse hooves mixed with the wind-whipped chilly weather yesterday as hundreds of people turned out for the annual Autumn Fest here.

The downtown festival allowed people to step back in time by more than a century and experience re-creations of Civil War life, butter churning, rope making, and Native American dance.

And as the children enjoyed riding in horse-drawn carts and making butter from whipping cream inside the fire station, others simply remembered a time past.

“I used to do that when I was about 3 or 4 years old,” said Jim Sondergeld, 70, of Genoa, as children took turns churning the cream in a glass container with a metal crank. He was raised on an Ottawa County farm that is now part of Crane Creek State Park.

“You had to let the cream sit, turn, and you better add a little salt,” he said. “That's what made it better.”

Cindy Lohrbach of Pemberville told the children about separating the butter from the buttermilk. She had a bowl of each.

“The kids have been having a good time,” Mrs. Lohrbach said. “They like eating it the best, of course. But they get a real kick out of cranking it.”

Organizers had bread on hand to go with the butter.

Some children missed the point. One boy asked if they were making soap.

Elsewhere in the fire station, other children panned for gold in a trough or made ropes from twine.

Outside, about 20 members of the 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry were in the 41-degree weather shooting rifles, camping, and cooking over an open fire.

“We are living history and [we are] showing people how to fire weapons and cook foods,” Capt. Bob Minton of Bloomdale, Ohio, said.

During the Civil War, a good man could shoot three rounds a minute with a rifle, Captain Minton said.

Back at the fire station, Jamie Oxendine, a music and choir director at Toledo's Leverette Junior High School, wore a Native American outfit and danced to drumming sounds from a CD player. Mr. Oxendine, a Lumbee, danced with a rattle and goose feathers. The warrior dance tells the story of the hunt.

“I look around a lot, looking for the trail of animals,” he said.

And while people were looking back on history, others were looking ahead. Village officials buried a casket-shaped time capsule outside town hall. It will be opened in 50 years.

The red, white, and blue capsule has Pokemon cards, Beanie Babies, and a brochure about the historical homes as well as fire department memorabilia.

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