We had the chance to attend a really cool festival at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna, MO. To be honest, I was almost certain we had gotten lost on the way there–I knew it was over 90 minutes from our home, but I wasn’t prepared for the twisty country roads we would be driving on, and I really thought we had missed a turn somewhere. What else are you supposed to think when you’ve been over the river *and* through the woods, and still no sign of civilization (or Grandmother’s house!)? But just as I was really starting to panic, we found it–and the tons of people that were already there (which was weird, because for most of our journey on Missouri state highways, we never saw another car, only farm vehicles!).
I was not prepared for how huge of an event this would be, or how fun and interesting it was. There were demonstrations of old-time trades, buildings to tour, a costume contest, lots of food tents, German bands, vendors selling hand-made wares, and, of course, the Schnitzelbank.
We had the opportunity to see many different people at work, doing many different things, including:
- butter churning
- wood working
- broom making (fascinating to watch!)
- log splitting
- sausage making (we missed out on seeing the brains, thankfully!)
- cider pressing
- flour grinding (so much work!)
- wool combing
It was amazing to see all of these craftspeople at work, doing things we normally think of only in the past-tense. It was also an amazing reminder of how much easier our physical tasks are now. I couldn’t believe the amount of work that went into grinding flour, and how little flour resulted from that work. Turkey found out first hand just how much work sawing a log is, but he enjoyed the chance to help out. Moose also really loved watching him–he sat down of his own accord and just enjoyed watching the saw go.
The old buildings were also very cool. One building we toured was called the “Confirmation Room,” and we learned that it was part of an early church and school. It’s purpose was only for eighth grade confirmation classes–the eighth grade students were pulled from the two school buildings during a part of the school day for their religious instruction. I have never heard of anything like that before, so I was quite intrigued, to say the least. I also loved that the two people giving the tour of that building *both* showed Turkey and Bunny the inkwells in the desks, and explained how little boys used to dip the ends of little girls’ pigtails in the ink. I’m not sure my children really believed them, but it was a great story for them to hear.
We also got to see a decent number of farm animals, including a baby llama that was one of the cutest creatures I’ve ever seen. There were also goats, a donkey, and a fair number of sheep in that pen. We saw a horse in a stall near the broom-making (I think he would have been happier running free!), a pair of alpacas, and a bunch of chickens in the chicken coop. The animals were, not surprisingly, Ladybug’s favorite part.
We got to sample homemade bread with fresh churned butter *and* homemade apple butter–a big hit with the children. The slices were amazingly thick, and the toppings generous. The ladies working the churn were right next to our table, and we enjoyed watching them work. We also saw them making the apple butter in a huge pot over a fire–that, too, looked like a lot of work. The day wouldn’t have been complete without buying some to take home–we ended up with a whole quart!
Of course, the highlight of the day was the singing of the Schnitzelbank. Not only was there an accordion player (my favorite), and the traditional posters from Mader’s restaurant to help lead the singing, but they put on a whole skit with a person dressed up as or holding each item in the song. It was great to hear the whole crowd singing along–it was even more fun to hear Ladybug shout “we haven’t sung the Schnitzelbank yet!” a few minutes before it started.