Don’t know what a homestead animal is?
Perhaps it’s time to pet some goats, and even take a hayride.
Friendly farm animals, original artisan creations, storytelling and good food will all be part of the fun Saturday at Arthurdale Heritage’s annual craft show and fall festival.
Nestled in the mountains of Preston County, visitors will also have an opportunity to tour the historic community made famous by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
It was established in 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, and was the country’s first New Deal Homestead Community.
Often called “Eleanor’s Little Village,” the community was a new way of life for West Virginians suffering from the Great Depression.
It’s now a National Historic District that still includes 160 of the 165 original homesteads.
It also includes the New Deal Homestead Museum, the Craft Shop (which specializes in Appalachian crafts and quality gifts) and the CoOp Store(located at an old Esso station) that sells fresh produce, local foods and gifts.
Arthurdale Heritage Inc. is hosting the event which includes everything from a juried craft show to a petting area for farm animals including baby goats and Pickles, the donkey.
Preserving history is an important part of the nonprofit’s mission, said executive director Darlene Bolyard.
Visiting the site is a good way to better understand the philosophy behind the community’s founding.
“It is important to understand what Mrs. Roosevelt wanted the homesteaders to do, right from the beginning.”
“And that was to help one another, to help one another as a community. She wanted them to know they could do far greater things together, rather than individually.”
In the beginning, homesteaders were given enough seeds for their first garden and also 12 fruit trees.
“She also told them if their neighbor’s tomatoes don’t do well, and they don’t have any seeds for next year, then you are to share your seeds with them. And vice versa. The idea was that they would all survive and be sustained,” Bolyard said.
Still true to its roots, the event will be family friendly right down to the West Virginia ghost tales told by renowned storyteller JoAnn Dadisman.
Join others on the museum house porch for some not-too-scary Halloween fun, then head out for a hayride.
Other children’s activities will include face painting and old-time games.
Master weaver and Americorps volunteer Jane Gilchrist will be demonstrating her craft.
Here’s a chance to weave your own mini rug to take home.
Artisan crafts that will be offered for sale include artwork, jewelry, glass, pottery and fabric artwork.
But that’s not the only action taking place at this beloved celebration.
Appalachian Blacksmiths Association members will be demonstrating their skills at the historic forge, and will be making items to sell.
Event hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p. m. It is free, and open to the public.
Food will also be sold, including homemade soups, pastries and Roger’s famous sloppy joes, a local favorite.
Live folk music will be performed by the New Diesel Trio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.