Wednesday, July 4, 10 am – 4 pm
Celebrate the Fourth at Hanford Mills Museum’s annual Independence Day Celebration. The event features old-fashioned fun, with two frog jumping contests, a fishing derby on the Mill Pond, tug o’ war, and sack races. Visitors also can tour the historic Mill and woodworking shop and see water- and steam-power demonstrations featuring the 1926 Fitz Overshot waterwheel, the steam boiler and steam engines. Local vendors will be selling delicious food, including BBQ, homemade pies, and maple cotton candy. The Hanford Mills String Band will fill the Mill Yard with music, blacksmiths will be working in the forge, and kids will have a fun variety of activities to take part in.
Mill staff and volunteers will be making vanilla ice cream on a steam-powered churn, chilled with ice harvested from the Mill Pond in February. Free ice cream samples will be available while supplies last. “The ice cream is the sweet reward of last February’s successful ice harvest,” said Hanford Mills Museum executive director Liz Callahan. The ice is kept frozen in the Museum’s traditional ice house, packed with sawdust from the Mill.
Special Fun for Kids
Children 14 and under can take part in a fishing derby on the Mill Pond, with prizes being awarded at 2 pm. Children should bring a fishing pole and bait (or borrow one of the poles that will be available to borrow from the Department of Environmental Conservation in Stamford.) There also will be sack races, tug o’ war, and frog-jumping contests (at 12:30 and 2:30 pm, BYOF: bring your own frog).
The Museum’s new Learning Lab, a special place for kids 8 and under to explore and create, will be open, and kids can play with mini waterwheels, Imagination Playground blocks, gears, and more.
Unique Steam Power Demonstrations
“We are one of the few places in the country that features steam power,” explains Hanford Mills executive director Liz Callahan. “Firing up the steam boiler and operating it is demanding and labor intensive. Staff and volunteers make up the ‘Steam Team,’ whose experience, training and dedication enable us to run the boiler and steam engines just as the Hanfords did a century ago.” She noted that while the Museum operates the waterwheel during tours offered every Wednesday through Sunday, steam power demonstrations occur only a few times a year. Visitors on July 4th can see both power sources.
Local Music and Local Food
Tickled Pink BBQ will be selling lunch and snack items, The Farmer’s Wife will be selling pies and sweets, and Shaver-Hill Farms will be selling maple products, including maple cotton candy. The Hanford Mills String Band, aka Peter Blue, John Potocnik and Friends, will perform. Peter and John have been playing dances around the area for many years. Peter plays nyckelharpa, button accordion and percussion; John plays fiddle. They are joined by Danny Birnbaum on bass and Dave Raphelson on guitar and banjo.
Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic.
Admission and Hours
The Independence Day Celebration is included with regular Museum admission, which is free for all children 12 and under, active duty military and their families, and Museum members. EBT cardholders also receive free admission, through the Museums for All program. Museum Neighbors residing in the following zip codes receive FREE admission (with proof of residency): 13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806.
Festival activities run from 10 am to 4 pm; the Museum site is open 10 am to 5 pm.