Blacksmiths, woodworkers, canners and candle dippers showed off their skills at the Florida Agricultural Museum's first Lost Arts Festival on Sunday, Sept. 25.
The festival featured exhibits of skills and crafts that have dwindled in practice since machinery and technology have developed.
Kara Hoblick, the museum’s executive director, said while the festival expanded on other historical demonstrations the museum has hosted in the past, it’s the first time the museum has hosted an event like this.
“There’s stories that need to be told. This is such an important part of Florida’s agricultural history,” Hoblick said. “People buy rope every single day, but they never think about how did somebody make this rope pre-machine."
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 25, festivalgoers were escorted around the property in a tractor-pulled metal wagon.
Cracker cattle rancher Diane Ross showed volunteers how to crack a whip. Ross’ family, Hoblick said, has owned Florida Cracker cattle — one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the United States — for generations.
Hoblick said the museum hopes for this festival to become another annual event — and might host it twice a year and double the number of experts and featured crafts.
“Really, educating the public, that’s the main purpose,” Hoblick said. “I’m very happy with the turnout … and the feedback was fantastic.”
The museum also leases acreage to the Northeast Florida Live Steamers & Railroaders, Inc., whose one-eighth-scale rideable model trains traverse around 7,000 feet of miniature tracks.
Guests could ride the trains and learn about how the tracks work.
Flagler County resident Damaris Kreymborg attended the festival with her four young children and her mother. Kreymborg said she heard about the festival through Facebook.
“It was amazing. It was more than we expected,” she said. “I mean, train rides, that whole educational experience, which we're thinking of coming back for to learn a little more.”
Kreymborg said it was the family's first time at the museum, but she hopes to return to get the full experience.
The Agricultural Museum hosts guided horseback trail rides throughout the year, as well as educational field trips for schools from across the state.
Hoblick said the museum already has hundreds of tour bookings from schools for the new school year.
The museum has submitted several requests for funding during the upcoming legislative session in Tallahassee, Hoblick said. Staff at the museum want to expand the museum's exhibit space, build a discovery and visitor center and add more restrooms and a livestock barn.
The visitor center, she said, would function as an admissions point — a function currently handled by the gift shop — and hopefully have a café and another gift shop to bring in more revenue.
She said she hopes that more people will come to enjoy the exhibits.
“It’s just getting it out there to the public and doing it on a regular basis,” she said.