Second Saturday at Pioneer Park to feature inkle looms, dulcimers and pine needle baskets


Special to the
Opelika Observer

The Lee County Historical Society will begin a new year of activities Jan. 12 at Pioneer Park by offering visitors a taste of life in the 1800s in East Alabama. If the weather is agreeable, Dr. Charles Mitchell will lead a garden walk ‘n talk through the Heirloom Camellia Garden at 9 a.m. where visitors will learn about the state flower of Alabama that is now in bloom. Thirteen-year-olds, including adults, are welcome to come to the Textile Room, upstairs in the Trade Center Museum. Starting at 9 a.m., Mary Dulaney will be teaching participants to use Inkle Looms on which one can weave bands and belts. All supplies will be provided and there is no fee.
Pioneer settlers used whatever material was available to make items they could use. Of the more beautiful items were baskets made out of pine needles. A beginner’s class in Pine Straw Basketry will also start this Saturday, with classes every Saturday through the February “Second Saturday”.
The classes will be held in the Trade Center Museum from 9 a.m. – noon. Supplies will be available and the fee will be $20 for the entire series.
All participants will have completed a small basket by the end of classes. Call Mike Thurman at 334-220-3290 to make a reservation. The class is limited.
Deborah McCord and the Whistle Stop Pickers will also begin a new class in traditional music using the mountain dulcimer. Even if one has never played a musical instrument before, they will find the mountain dulcimer both fun and satisfying.
The Trade Center Museum and all buildings at Pioneer Park are open to the public on the second Saturday of each month. Blacksmiths are working at the forge, the textile center is alive with artisans spinning and weaving home-made fabrics, the gardens are open, and special activities are planned monthly. Stay for lunch at noon. Someone is always cooking up a traditional Southern lunch in the Cook House based on traditional recipes from our past. Pioneer Park is a project of the Lee County Historical Society, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the history of Lee County and East Alabama.
For more information, visit or like their Facebook page.


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