Flora, Oregon—Keeping the old skills of the pioneer alive is the principal reason for School Days each and every year. With the advent of the 100th year birthday party, the School Days committee has made changes in the format surrounding the demonstrators that provide those skills.
Selling their wares in the demonstration area will be allowed this year with the payment of a $25 booth fee. Some demonstrators may wish to still place their items in the Country Store (charging a 25% commission on sales) while others may want to take advantage of the new format. Still other demonstrators just volunteer their time to keep the old skills alive. All demonstrators must work their craft, dress in a pioneer style and booths selling wares must bring someone to help with sales (also dressed in pioneer style) so that the main person may continue to demonstrate and answer questions. The Country Store will still exist for purchase of food tickets, raffle tickets, and many handmade items.
“The change in format was requested, and actually was the norm when School Days first started in 1999,” exclaims Nathan Thompson, volunteer coordinator for the Flora School Education Center (FSEC). The one thing he does want to emphasize is that even with this format change the whole of School Days is a volunteer effort.
In the past soap makers, blacksmiths, spinners, weavers, jewelry makers, quilters, painters and many more have participated in the day-long event. “So far we have added a farrier and hopefully the blacksmith will be making the shoes for the horses too,” smiles Nathan Thompson, said blacksmith being himself. “We are always looking for more and varied skills—more than one demo for a skill is great, but adding skills we have not had in the past is excellent!”
Skills that are missing from past times or have not been seen at School Days in a while are many: wheel wright, cow milking, plowing, rope making, leatherwork, paper making, book binding, vegetable dyes, felting, charcoal making and drawing, rawhide braiding and many more. Some of the skills can be taught to a willing volunteer, like rope making; always volunteers are welcome.
The Flora School’s birthday party is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, 10am to 4pm. Demonstrators and volunteers must be setup by 9:30am, although a breakfast for all is provided at 8am. After the festivities, North End Crossing B&B, located in Flora, hosts a potluck barbecue for all volunteers and their families.
If you have or know of someone that has a particular skill that might be of interest, please contact Nathan Thompson at 509.876.7812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The school’s message phone is 541.828.7010. Skills may be traditionally pioneer or may have a few twists from modern days, but must be something that people do not see or do themselves anymore.