ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – An attraction at the U.P. State Fairgrounds is taking Escanaba back in time all summer long.
The Antique Village was started 48 years ago by the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association.
“They started it mostly just with tractors, and it kind of grew from there,” said Wendy Gibson, liaison for the Steam and Gas Engine Association and Sisters of Steam. “Buildings were added throughout the years, and now we have a village square with several shops.”
Each Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. between now and Labor Day, the community is invited to Summer in the Village. Guests can experience a taste of life in the late 1800s and early 1900s, from the schoolhouse to the sawmill.
Every other week, shop owners will give demonstrations on their crafts. For instance, Fiber Boutique proprietor Joanne Dufour teaches others how to spin yarn.
“I’m using my feet to turn the wheel, which in turn, turns this wheel,” she said as she worked. “Therefore, I’m putting twists into my fiber.”
Escanaba Knit & Stitch proprietor Larry Klope demonstrates to guests how women made socks for servicemembers during World War I and World War II.
“They could wind up cranking up a pair of socks for the troops in about 45 minutes,” said Klope. “These are all latch hook needles, and there’s a cam that pushes them up and down. This drum has 70 hooks, so each time around that’s 70 stitches we’re putting on here.”
The Antique Village is operated by volunteers with an appreciation for “days gone by.”
“It brings back nostalgia for people who come into the village,” said Gibson. “We love the old-time feel, and it’s just a lovely, peaceful place to be.”
Gibson says the group hopes to bridge the gap between young people and older generations.
“I would hope that it could make them maybe spur conversations with their grandparents or great-grandparents and say, ‘Look what we made at the village. Did you used to do this?'” she said. “Maybe they can share some of those stories that they have.”
Summer in the Village is free to attend. However, a few hands-on demonstrations may charge a small fee for participants. Click here for information on the next Summer in the Village event.
This Saturday, June 10, the Antique Village will host Music in the Village from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Several bluegrass, folk, and country acts are scheduled to perform. Admission is free, and attendees can also see demonstrations of blacksmithing, corn shelling, rope and shingle making, spinning, and weaving.