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MoCo Heritage Days Events Celebrate 20 Years

As Montgomery County prepares to celebrate Heritage Days Weekend coming up the weekend of June 24 and 25, many local historical sites are preparing to accept visitors wanting to go back in time and visit the early days of Montgomery County.

For 20 years, the last weekend in June has meant it is time for Heritage Days. This countywide festival has something to appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. With over 35 sites all around Montgomery County open with free admission for Heritage Days Weekend.

A special focus this year will be heritage food traditions with activities including cooking demonstrations – featuring both unique cooking methods and presentations by acclaimed chefs – farm and garden displays, and food trucks. Other programs will include live musical performances, walking tours, art exhibits, games and crafts for children, history displays and demonstrations.

Sites are open from noon to 4:00 pm unless otherwise indicated. In addition to Civil War and agricultural history, the stories of local railroads and trolleys, African American communities, life along the C&O Canal, astronomy, and much more are featured.

Heritage Days also highlights local arts & culture as well as outdoor recreation, including biking, hiking, and walking tours. Many venues offer musical entertainment, activities and crafts for children, and refreshments.

In the Germantown area, on Saturday and Sunday the Boyds Negro School will be open to public. The Negro School, which is not often open, is a one-room school house which was for African-American children at turn-of-the-century. The interior of the school is exactly how it would have been with wooden desks and the chalkboard. Activities include calligraphy, button necklaces, marbles, sack races, and horseshoes.

The Boyds Negro School is located at 19510 White Ground Road, it served as the only public school for African Americans in the Boyds area from 1895-1936. The schoolhouse served students in grades 1-8, many of whom walked for miles to attend classes at the school.

Residents can also experience early life in Montgomery County at the Button Farm Living History Center at 16820 Black Rock Road in Germantown. Visitors can see examples of plantation life in 1850s Maryland including an heirloom garden, heritage breed animals, newly restored period buildings, and slave cemetery. Demonstrations, petting zoo, and Underground Railroad passport activities for visitors of all ages.

Visitors to the Maryland SoccerPlex who have wondered what the white barn in the middle of the park was, can discover the MOOseum and learn about the history of dairy farming in Montgomery County. Exhibits include a Ford Model T milk delivery truck, wooden milk wagon, model railroad, and life-sized model cows; playroom & crafts. Saturday only: Balloon Man makes balloons for children from noon- 2:00 pm. Sunday only: Miss Regina’s music activity from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm for children ages 1-4, and butter churning from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Visitors can stop by the Damascus Heritage Museum at 9701 Main Street on Saturday to learn about town history and how the town, streets, and buildings got their names. “Then and Now” exhibit features historical artifacts and photographs of Damascus and the surrounding area.

Visitors in the Clarksburg area can check out the Hyattstown Mill, at 14920 Hyattstown Mill Road in Clarksburg beginning at 10:00 am on both Saturday and Sunday. See the new “art exhibit in the gallery of the historic mill; crafts for children. Art demonstrations and crafts for children. Saturday: Artists’ reception from 2:00 to 4:00 pm with live bluegrass & country swing music by Tumbleweeds at 3:00 pm. Sunday: Live guitar music by Jim Wagner.

On Saturday, also in Clarksburg, visitors can learn about the historic churches of Clarksburg at the Clarksburg United Methodist Church at 23245 Spire Street. Visit a historic 1909 church and National Historic Register two-room schoolhouse. Activities include local history exhibits, cemetery tour, classic cars, children’s games and activities, moon bounce, music, and more. Free trolley rides from the church to the schoolhouse. Refreshments for sale.

Also in Poolesville, the Poolesville Museum at 19933 Fisher Avenue will be open. This 100 year-old restored bank includes an ornate, early 20th-century bank vault with decorative painting. The documentaries Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War and Growing Legacy, about the Agricultural Reserve, will be shown.

The Seneca Schoolhouse Museum will also be open on Saturday and Sunday at 16899 River Road in Poolesville. Class will be in session in this restored 1880s one room schoolhouse, with a period costumed teacher. Classroom activities, games, and refreshments.

For a complete listing of all the Heritage Days events happening throughout Montgomery County this weekend, visit the Heritage Days Web site.

Photos courtesy of the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County

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