German chocolate cake, painted turnips, colorful dances and guided tours of gravestones will mark the 214th birthday of one of America’s most effective presidents in a free family program at President James K. Polk State Historic Site (http://www.nchistoricsites.org/polk/polk.htm) in Pineville on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
According to Irish legend, well before folks carved pumpkins they turned turnips into whimsical faces to ward off the devil, and in 18th-century North Carolina there were turnips aplenty (http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/9526/fable018.htm).
In the craft area, kids can turn tin sheets into artful ornaments with their own hand-punched designs. Or they can fasten a corn husk doll to take home, or paint their own turnip. A donation for materials is requested for craft-making.
Seventeen sweet ingredients make for a delicious birthday cake befitting a president. “You can saunter through the historic buildings or, with 800 acres here, walk off the calories,” said Courtney Rounds, Site Interpreter.
Hands-on activities include a chance for kids and ever-young adults to play with all-but-forgotten toys such as yo-yos, cup-and-ball and Jacob’s ladders. Other highlights will include woodworking demonstrations, the Red Hill Dance Society performing to country reels, plus living history vignettes such as blacksmithing and open-hearth cooking.
At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. the Polk State Historic Site staff members will offer guided tours of the Polk family cemetery plot with discussion of those buried there and the symbolism of headstones.
The site is located approximately 1.5 miles south of Pineville off exit 65 B, I-485, at 12031 Lancaster Highway in Pineville, N.C. For further information on the Polk birthday program or the site, call (704) 889-7145, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.polk.nchistoricsites.org.
President James K. Polk State Historic Site is one of 27 State Historic Sites in the Division of State Historic Sites, a part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts, history and culture. For more information, visit www.ncculture.com.
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