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Heritage Farm to host Summer Festival, featuring homemade ice cream, July 1

Take a step back in time with a classic American tradition at Heritage Farm Museum and Village, which will host an ice cream social as part of its annual Summer Festival on Saturday, July 1.

"A lot of local people have company visiting from out of town, and what's better than homemade ice cream?" Audy Perry, the farm's executive director, said. The homemade vanilla ice cream will be for sale in the village.

The Smithsonian-affiliated farm was founded in 1996 by Perry's parents, Henriella and the late Mike Perry, and features historical buildings and seven award-winning museums, as well as a plethora of local artisans. Its goal is to inspire Appalachians - and those outside of Appalachia - by sharing stories of the past. Among its more than 30 structures, many of which will be open to festivalgoers, are working mills, a coal-burning blacksmith's shop, a historical log church and the Frontier Cabin, which was used as a set for the History Channel's "Hatfield and McCoys" documentary.

"Our goal is to allow the story of our bold and creative past to encourage our culture to invent itself again," Perry said. One way festivalgoers can do this is by participating in the MakerSpace, where individuals can try their hand at various crafts.

Artisans attending the festival include a basket weaver, broom maker, blacksmith, woodworker and potters, as well as craftsmen who will work the shingle and grist mills. In addition, the Tamarack Foundation's Emerging Artist Fellows, graphic artist Rosalie Haizlett and ceramicist Hannah Lenhart, will be present.

Visitors to the Summer Festival can enjoy folk and square dancing on the new pavilion and dance floor, an event that Perry says was a success at last year's festival. Stony Point String Band, a locally based traditional Appalachian string band, will provide live music.

A recent addition to Heritage Farm is Marco, an American Bison, who can be seen on the farm's wagon ride. For those that prefer more cuddly critters, the petting zoo is busy as ever with a variety of animals to visit, including week-old chicks.

While the daytime festival will not be setting off fireworks, visitors are invited to the "How Fire Works" demonstration, in which a cannon handcrafted by the farm's blacksmith will be set off.

"We like to rock the valley with the sound of it," Perry said.

For those unable to attend the festival, the farm hosts Way Back Weekends from 10 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday from May to December, featuring many of the same attractions found at the Summer Festival, and a different theme every month.

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