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Derry Area Historical Society’s annual Lammas Day celebration is set for Sunday, with expanded activities including a fiber arts demonstration and tastings of locally produced beer and wine.
The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the society’s restored 1817 Fulton House inn at 357 W. Pittsburgh St. It’s just off Route 982 in the Derry Township village of New Derry.
“We wanted to try to make it a little bit bigger event,” said society Vice President Judy Johnston. “We’ll have our Conestoga wagon out on display.”
Lammas Day in England traditionally marked the beginning of the harvest, particularly for corn and wheat, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, with Lammas derived from “Loaf Mass.”
It is not an event recognized today by the Catholic Church, according to the Rev. Sam Lamendola, pastor of the local St. Martin and St. Joseph parishes. But, he will be at the Fulton House on Sunday to seek a “blessing for the harvest of the fields.”
A Lammas Day tradition at the Fulton House is serving up corn on the cob and hot dogs. Those attending are invited to bring a lawn chair to sit around a bonfire.
They can write their regrets on a corn husk and then throw them into the flames to be consumed.
This year, the society plans to feature maple syrup as well as tastings of area craft brews and wines. Though he will not be offering samples or sales, co-Executive Director Aaron Hollis will be on hand to provide information about the West Overton Village museum and revived rye whiskey distillery in East Huntingdon.
Traditional music and crafts also will be spotlighted. Visitors will be treated to tunes played on the mountain dulcimer and hammered dulcimer. They’ll be able to learn about time-tested methods for spinning yarn.
Ray Kipp of Ligonier, a member of a blacksmith group affiliated with the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association, will be busy at the Fulton House forge.
“I’ll be making some hooks and similar items that would have been used during the period from the French and Indian War up to the early 1800s,” Kipp said.
He’ll also be selling some finished steel articles. He also plans to donate tools such as a shovel, rake and poker for use at the society’s forge.
“They have a real nice blacksmith facility,” he said. “I’m looking forward to using it.”
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff by email at or via Twitter .
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