A Blast from the past….

Dayton Heritage Day at Carillon Historical Park

By Matt Clevenger

Scenes and characters from Dayton’s past will come to life on Sunday, May 29, during Dayton History’s Dayton Heritage Day at Carillon Historical Park.

Musket shooting, blacksmithing, hearth cooking, candle dipping and high-wheel bicycling are just a few of the historically accurate activities that will be on display during the festival, along with characters, buildings and artifacts from every era of Dayton’s long history. Visitors will also be able to view all the park’s usual displays, including a one-room schoolhouse from Springfield, the original Newcom Tavern (Dayton’s oldest building) and the Wright Flyer III.

Display buildings will close at 7 p.m., and the Dayton Philharmonic will take the stage to present a patriotic outdoor concert.

“It’s going to be a really great day,” Dayton History’s Assistant Director of Education Merry Masterson says. “There’s going to be a lot of programming going on in the park, and demonstrations. We’ll have everything from musket shooting to historic dance and theatrical skits. We’ll have somebody in the one-room schoolhouse, and we’ll have some different actors in the park riding our high-wheel bike and our safety bicycle.”

“There are all kinds of activities that parents and children can get involved in,” adds historical interpreter Bud Maylum, who has volunteered with the festival since 2005. “There’s going to be train rides, we’re going to have little skits that people can watch. I personally am going to be dressed in civil war costume, and I’m going to teach the kids how to march.

“The older ones and parents will also be able to load and fire a Springfield rifle that was used in the civil war,” he says. “I give them a quick safety lesson on how to do it, then I let them actually load it and shoot it.”

Each of the day’s attractions will highlight a different time in Dayton’s history, from the first building constructed in 1796 through the invention of the Wright Flyer and beyond.

“We’ll have textile work happening in the Newcom Tavern, which is the oldest building still standing in Dayton,” Masterson says. “We’ll have hearth cooking in one of our early single-family homes from 1830s Dayton. We’re also going to have a paper airplane contest out by the aviation center, which houses our Wright Flyer III, the second-oldest airplane in existence.”

Music and theatrical skits will also be performed throughout the day.

“They will be scattered throughout the day at different times,” Masterson says. “Visitors will get a times guide for the day, showing what time everything is going to be happening. The exhibit buildings, however, will close at 7 p.m. to get ready for the Dayton Philharmonic, which will really cap the whole evening off.”

Known as the Dayton Heritage Festival since 2009, the annual event has featured the Dayton Philharmonic since 2004. Dayton History changed the event’s name this year, as a way to more accurately reflect its original mission.

“The theme is a little bit different this year,” Masterson said. “It’s Dayton Heritage Day with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. The focus this year is really going to be on Dayton’s heritage.

“We’re really focusing this year on it being less of a festival with food vendors,” she said, “and trying to refocus it on the heritage of Dayton, and the sort of educational programming and demonstrations that we can do here at the park.”

Some food vendors will be present at the festival, and the park’s own Culp’s Cafe will also be open. For visitors seeking a more authentic experience, Carillon also features a working 1850s-era brewery, which includes a full-service German restaurant.

“You’ll still be able to get your kettle corn and hot dogs, and enjoy the philharmonic,” Masterson says.

The festival will open at 11 a.m., and the philharmonic concert is scheduled to run until 8:30 p.m. Parking is free, and admission is the same as the park’s normal rate, $8 per adult, $5 for children and $7 for senior citizens.

“It has grown,” Maylum says of the festival. “It’s such an interesting thing to do. Dayton has so much history in it to give to the world.”

Dayton Heritage Day will take place Sunday, May 29 at Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd. The festival opens at 11 a.m.; admission is $8 per adult, $5 for children and $7 for senior citizens. For times and more information, please visit daytonhistory.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com

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