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May 2, 2013

Woodsmen's Festival planned at Hanford Mills Museum


---- — Carving, cutting, chopping, building, sawing, shaping and finishing. The Woodsmen’s Festival at Hanford Mills Museum celebrates the many ways people use and work with wood. 

Festivities will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. According to organizers, a perennial highlight of the festival is the lumberjack skills demonstrated by the Woodsmen’s Team from the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill. The men and women of the Woodsmen’s Team, who participate in intercollegiate competitions and practice five nights a week, will demonstrate cross-cut sawing, overhand and underhand chop, ax throwing and other lumberjack skills. 

Throughout the day, the museum will give tours and demonstrations of its historic water-powered sawmill and woodworking machines. For more than a century, Hanford Mills provided East Meredith and surrounding communities with the lumber needed to build homes, barns and fences, as well as finished wood products, including butter tub covers and milk bottle crates for the region’s many dairy farms. Historic cooking demonstrations will be taking place in the John Hanford Farmhouse, where visitors also can learn more about home life in the 1920s.

“With a new array of presenters and exhibits, plus perennial favorites like the SUNY Cobleskill Woodsmen’s Team and their incredible strength, speed and skills, the Woodsmen’s Festival is a great way to kick off the museum’s 40th anniversary season,” Liz Callahan, the museum’s executive director, said in a media release. “We welcome everyone to come out to Hanford Mills and enjoy.” 

She noted that this will be the first public operation of the historic water-powered sawmill in 2013.

The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership will lead “Alien Invader” tree walks throughout the day, identifying trees and talking about the invasive forest pest that threaten them, including the emerald ash borer, the Asian long-horned beetle and the hemlock wooly adelgid. Bovina Brown Bats will have an exhibit about bats and the impact of White Nose Syndrome and offer bat houses, wooden folk art and wooden toys for sale. The Hobart Book Village will have a selection of books and paper gift items for sale. Eagle Ridge BBQ will be selling barbecue pork, burgers, fresh-cut fries, chili, hotdogs and beverages. 

The Woodsmen’s Festival also features children’s activities and visitors are welcome to explore the museum’s 70-acre site. The museum’s gift shop will be open, offering mill-made crafts, traditional toys, sweets, books and local products.

Children 12 and younger get in free. The cost for adults is $8.50, seniors are $6.50. AAA and other discounts are available. Museum members receive free admission.

Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 county Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware county routes 10 and 12. For more information, visit or call 278.5744.