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Pioneer Day brings homestead to life at Jesse Jones Park

What was life like for early East Texas settlers? How did they survive without modern day conveniences such as refrigerators, gasoline-powered vehicles or electricity? What would they do for entertainment? And what better way to find out than with a hill day of old-time fun? On Saturday November 3 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the homestead comes alive as Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center hosts its sixteenth annual Pioneer Day. Visitors of all ages have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of folk music and demonstrations, try their hand at seldom-seen crafts and skills, sample old-fashioned foods and enjoy many other activities.

Demonstrations, music and other activities are featured in the green space at the front of the park and at the Redbud Hill Homestead. Staff members and scores of volunteers transform the homestead into a living, working homestead of the early I 800s. Volunteers offer a taste of the past when they offer samples of cornbread from the bread oven, jerky from the smokehouse and stick bread and hoecakes cooked over an open fire. Members of the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers demonstrate how wood was fashioned into useful tools, furniture and other items in the wood shop, while other volunteers show off their metal working skills in the blacksmith shop. Patrick Nolan and members of Sam Houston’s Raven Rangers demonstrate black powder weapons of all types, from pistols to canons. And other Raven Rangers show off a variety of pioneer skills that include quilting, flint knapping, tomahawk and knife throwing and leather working. Other demonstrations include lye soap making, gardening. a petting zoo, Native American crafts and much more. Visitors can even try on period costumes and get their picture taken in a variety of settings.

Younger park visitors can try their hand at some of the same chores done by children in the 1830s, such as making beeswax candles, writing with a quill, shelling and grinding corn, washing clothes on a washboard and churning butter. Youngsters can also ride ponies, listen to Indian and pioneer children’s stories, shoot bows and arrows, and make paper bonnets or corn husk dolls.

The Jones Park outdoor stages will feature festive folk music from groups such as Billy Bratton, Dog Days of Summer, Dr. Brianstine and the Channel Cats, The Fiddle and the Bow, the North Harris County Dulcinier Society and Tall Cotten.

Hayrides are available from 10 &m. to 4 p.m. and travel from the playground parking lot to the park entrance and from the park entrance to the homestead.

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, a Harris County Precinct 4 facility, is located at 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. All programs are free of charge and open to the public. Harris County Precinct 4 programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, national origin or disability. For more information on the park, or any of its programs, call 281-446-8~88.