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2020 Programs Update

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Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all 2020 History Alive! programs have been cancelled (including the June Cook Forest F&I Event and the July PA Lumber Museum Barkpeelers Festival).

Check back in 2021 updates.  Stay safe…

December 2019 Belsnickel Program

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December 12,  2019   6:00-7:30pm
Beware the Belsnickel
Historic Yellow Springs, 1685 Art School Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425
Sponsor: Chester County Historic Preservation Network

Rich will bring his talents as an educator, living history reenactor and presenter to the final Town Tour Supper Lecture. In the mindset of late 19th century Pennsylvanians of Palatinate German ancestry – without experiencing the Belsnickel, you could not fully appreciate the “grace” of Christmas. Children of the time often dreaded his arrival. You knew the Belsnickel had arrived when you heard the rattling of switches on the window, a loud thumping of his booted feet and the sound of bells ringing in the night. Discover how he evolved from the Germanic customs of the homeland into today’s Santa Claus.

A buffet supper and drinks will be provided.  Cost – $20.

For tickets information –

August 2019 Appearances

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August 3-4,  2019  (Camp open to the public at 9:00am August 3)
26th Annual Bucktail Reunion – Civil War Encampment
450 South College Street, Myerstown, PA

Rich will join members of the Pennsylvania Bucktails Regiment reenactment units at this special weekend event

He will focus his living history stage presentation at 10:30am on the persona of a Pennsylvania German canal boatman who worked on the nearby Union & Schuylkill canals – a published occupation of some of the members of the 149th and 150th. His presentation will be complete with stories and songs of life on the canal intertwined with the history of the Bucktails.

Other presentations during the weekend include live music by the 2nd South Carolina String Band with concerts at  2pm and 8pm Saturday. Sunday activities include a 8:15am morning service (in camp) and honor visits to the gravesites of Civil War Bucktails in Mt. Hope and Union Cemetery. The encampment closes at 12 noon Sunday.

The Bucktail Reunion event is free to the public and all are welcome to visit Bucktail Camp at the Myerstown Community Park. Rich (Cappy Hummel) can also be found in the pavilion near the encampment during the day on Saturday if you want more information about the history of the Union Canal.

For further info, see the Annual Bucktail Reunion Facebook page.  Map and Schedule below:













August 24, 2019  1:30pm, 3:45pm and 6:15pm
River & Rails Festival (Canal Place, 13 Canal Place, Cumberland, MD)

Rich will be presenting three programs of at this family festival at Canal Place in Cumberland (MD) –  focusing on the historic C&O Canal and its connection to coal mining and rails. All programs will include music and well as historically accurate information on each topic.

1:30pm (Stage #2) – Coal Mining Stories & Songs
3:45pm (Canal Boat) – Canal Stories & Songs
6:15pm  (Stage #2) – Railroad Stories & Songs

For more information about the festival, see the complete schedule of events below:









Barkpeeler’s Festival July 6-7, 2019 at the PA Lumber Museum

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Jack “Griz” Hains, former “Wood Hick” now Lumber Camp “Lobby Hog” is coming back again to this year’s Barkpeeler’s Festival at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in northcentral PA. Don’t miss this great family event! Yes, Rich will still be emceeing the Frog Jumping Contest and Greased Pole events as in previous years as well. For the complete schedule (in addition to the Jack “Griz” Hains program times below), see http://lumbermuseum.org/ – enjoy the fun!

April – May 2019 Programs

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Monday April 22, 2018  9am – 6pm with special living history presentation at 3:05pm
Lincoln Funeral Train Reenactment Event
Star Barn Village / Stone Gables Estate
1 Hollinger Lane, Elizabethtown, PA  17022

Meet “Muley” Tubbs, Supply Wagon Boss for the Union Troops, in the Carriage House of the Star Barn Complex throughout the day where he will be interpreting an exhibit that focuses on the importance of  horses and mules in the Civil War. This topic has a direct connection to the builder/owner of Star Barn, John Motter who supplied horses to the Union Cavalry during the war.
3:05 – 3:40pm Special First-Person Presentation (also in the Carriage House).

For additional information and tickets for this events – https://thestarbarn.com/event-calendar/

Wednesday May 29, 2019  7pm
“Woodhicks” of the PA Wilds

The Dean Center for the Performing Arts
History Comes Alive! Series / Coolidge Theater
104 Main St., Wellsboro, PA  16901

Join the spirit of 19th century “Wood Hick” Jack Hains as he tells of the pioneer, water transportation and logging railroad eras of the lumber industry. Learn about log slides, splash dams, Barnharts, Shays, “cookees”, knot bumpers, peaveys, cant hooks and the “natural law of succession” of the forest.

For additional information and tickets for this event – https://www.deanecenter.com/live-events

September 2018 Appearances

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September 21, 2018  6:00 pm
Bradford County Historical Society (109 Pine St. Towanda, PA)
Lumber Heritage in Northeastern

Join Rich as  Jack “Griz” Hains as he talks about the life and times of a northern Pennsylvania “wood hick” at this special Friday evening program. For further informationhttp://www.bradfordhistory.com/index.asp?pageID=9&EventId=154

September 23, 2018  6:00 pm
Troy Sales Barn (53-99 Ballard St, Troy, PA)
Connecting the Farm to the Forest

This special free interpretive presentation examines the symbiotic relationship between logging and agricultural production during the lumber boom days in Pennsylvania (1880-1910).

Rich will dress the part of a wood hick from that time period and will use old photographs to visually guide us through the past into the present. The Troy Sale Barn will be an example of how historic preservation is a form of life eternal for the value of the community and its citizens. The memories of those who gathered at the Troy Sale Barn throughout the years are part of the legacy of our local community and the citizens it represents.

If you have questions, please email troysalebarn@gmail.com or contact Bill Bower, Troy Sale Barn Operating Corporation President at 570/297-2943. It is the mission of the Troy Sale Barn Operating Corporation to showcase our agricultural heritage.

Expired: April – July 2018 Appearances

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 Saturday & Sunday June 9 -10
Cook Forest French & Indian War Encampment (Cooksburg, PA)

Conrad Weiser will be returning to this amazing event  – with a special program in the Sawmill Theater on Saturday from 1-2pm as well as a Saturday evening 7-8pm program in the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom.

At the 1pm presentation, In the Steps of a Peacekeeper – learn about the life of this  unsung Pennsylvania hero who epitomizes life on the American frontier from 1710 until his death in 1760. During that time – he was a statesman, diplomat, traveler, judge, linquist, Lieutenant Colonel, farmer and official Pennsylvania peacekeeper.

For the 7pm program, Conrad will be joined by his compatriot, Stoeffel Stump (portrayed by retired history teacher Bob Fleck) as they reminisce about their 1737 winter “walk” from Heidelberg (present day Womelsdorf west of Reading, PA) to Onondaga (near present day Syracuse, NY) to preserve the peace between the Iroquois and Catawba nations.

You can also meet the “characters within these two characters” both days near the entrance of the Sawmill Theater.
For further information on this weekend event – http://events.dcnr.pa.gov/event/cook_forest_french_indian_war_encampment_5573#.WwyMt4oh3IU

Sunday June 24, 2018
Schuylkill Canal Festival (Mont Clare, PA)
Canal Captain John A. Hummel hauled goods and produce on a number of canals in Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but his favorite of them all was the Schuylkill Canal which ran from Port Carbon to Philadelphia. Hear the “sneckehorn” blow, and be entertained with the songs and stories from the past as “Cappy” takes you back to the “good old days.”

For further information about this event –

Saturday & Sunday July 7-8, 2018
Barkpeeler’s Festival at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum (Galeton, PA)
See separate post to the left for information about this great event!

Expired: Winter 2018 Appearances

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Saturday Jan. 6, 2018 – PA Farm Show (Harrisburg, PA)
Playing for the Farm Team (Rich as Asa “The Count” Brainard)
Ag 102 Stage (Behind the Food Court in the Weis Exhibition Building)
Two programs:  3:00-3:45pm and 5:00-5:45pm

Have you ever thought about the cultural connections (language, customs, foodways, music, etc.) of baseball and agriculture? Many of the terms used in baseball past and present have an remarkable connection to farming and the land.

So, are you ready to go back to the past to understand the present? When the milking is done, we’ll go out to that open pasture behind the barn where we play ball (ballfield). We’ll hit daisy cutters (line drives) and prove that even a rube (hayshaker) can hit an apple (ball) over the fence. As a feeder (pitcher), Asa has thrown many a hot potato through a barn door.  Now, that’s baseball!