DECATUR – Mary Morrow was on a roll with pumpkin rolling Sunday afternoon at the Rock Springs Conservation Area's Fall Harvest Festival.
Competing against several other kids on a downhill slope outside the Nature Center building, Mary stood out before the race got going because she was dressed in period 1880s clothing. So, looking like she was ready to film a scene for the ye olde TV series “Little House on the Prairie," Mary gave her pumpkin a nudge and it took off like Cinderella's coach, rolling further than any other to win the day.
Modest in the wake of victory, Mary confessed that she knew she had a winning pumpkin as soon as she had picked it up. “I know why it was coming down the hill like that,” she said. “Because when I was holding it, it was wanting to go down.”
Well, you can't argue with that. Mary's success was saluted by her sisters, Madison, 7, and 10-year-old Molly and their mom, Kimberly, all suitably dressed in period attire. The Cisco family are volunteers at Rock Springs and Kimberly Morrow said the idea of the Harvest Festival is to give today's families a taste of how nature's bounty was once celebrated by families whose lives depended on it.
And her home-schooled children appear to be learning the lessons of 1800s living all too well. Asked if she would like to zip back 137 years and give daily life a whirl, Molly fired off the answer faster than a musket shot: “No,” she said, and went on to lament the chronic lack of phones and iPads.
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The Harvest Festival appeared to be doing a good job of keeping young minds amused without electronic intervention, however. Attractions included archery practice at 3-D animal targets, a maze made out of hay bales, craft-making, hand-made children's games, hay rides and the chance to pet critters ranging from snakes to Feisty the ferret.
Dakota Richardson, 6, was getting the hang of bow shooting although targets ranging from plastic turkeys to a bear came out of it with their faux hides intact.
Watching from the sidelines, her mom, Carson, and dad, Jeremy, were happy to see their daughter enjoying herself on the open air without the need for digital distractions. Carson Richardson said her daughter was wary at first, but then discovered toys from a simpler time could still download fun in 21st century imaginations.
“Once she saw how their toys were back in the day, she was all about it, she loved it,” said Richardson. “She was having fun.”