Autumn pioneer skills will be demonstrated at the home of Cherokee Chief James Vann when a living-history event is held on the grounds of the Murray County historic site.
Visitors on Saturdays, Nov. 16 and 23, can watch apples hand-pressed into cider, corn ground into grist and quilting demonstrations between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Vann House is a three-story brick house in the Federalist design. It is located at 82 Highway 225 in Chatsworth, Georgia.
More events this weekend
› Christmas Village: Tennessee State Fairgrounds, 500 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday (all times Central), $10 at the door, return tickets $5; more than 260 booths of crafts and gifts spread through three exhibit halls. www.christmasvillage.org/
› Craft Fair: Burks United Methodist Church, 6433 Hixson Pike, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, free. 423-443-5555
› Manufacturers Road Open House: Signal Mill and 2 Northshore businesses on Manufacturers Road, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, free.
› Pasture Prime Pickin’ Sale: 414 White Road, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, $5, outdoor sale of antique, vintage, recycled and upcycled items. Postponed from Nov. 1-2.
Preparations for winter were more intensive in the 19th century than what families experience today. Crops of cotton, wheat, corn, flax, apples, squash, gourds and more would have ripened and required harvesting. Where there was harvesting, there were preparations for long-term food storage. Smoking, drying, pressing and fermenting would have all taken place on the Vann plantation.
Since most farms had orchards for family use, apple pressing was a very common autumn activity. Before 20th-century prohibition forced farmers into growing sweet apples, most apples were tart and juicy and grown specifically for cider pressing. The fermentation process that creates hard cider kills bacteria, making a drink only mildly alcoholic and safer than untreated water. Cider could last for months, and even become vinegar, a necessary ingredient for cleaning, food preservation and many medicines.
Every year, Friends of the Vann House display antique, handmade quilts for guests to appreciate during guided tours of the house. On either Saturday, guests will be able to enjoy the creativity and artistic skill of women who spent weeks and months cutting and sewing quilts together for their loved ones. Among quilts at the Vann House are some that were handmade and donated from James Vann's descendants, as well as a 19th-century quilt crafted by a slave living in Murray County.
Admission is $6.50 adults, $5.50 children ages 6-17, ages 5 and younger free.
For more information: https://gastateparks.org/chiefvannhouse.