By Skyler Navarro

The 40th Annual Heritage Festival and Craft Show was hosted this past weekend by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department at Nifong Park.

Through carnival-style food, engaging activities, demonstrations of lost arts, storytelling and performances, the Annual Heritage Festival educated grown-ups and children on the lifestyles present in 1800s Missouri.

Little girl standing in encampment recreation

People of all ages are able to engage in the reenactments on display.

The free event took place on Saturday, Sept. 16. Although the event was supposed to be weekend-long, it was cancelled on Sunday, Sept. 17 due to rain storms in the morning.

The family friendly event had activities for everyone to do.

Artisans were showcasing lost arts such as handmade lanterns, wood carving, bread making and calligraphy.

Leslie Tardy, an artist at the event, has been practicing the art of calligraphy for 42 years. After picking up the pen in high school, he grew to enjoy the art. Tardy practices calligraphy that is reminiscent of the style of the mid-1800s.

Leslie Tardy shows off calligraphy.

Leslie Tardy shows off the art of calligraphy.

Calligraphy is called a lost art due to the rise of computers in the 1990s, Tardy said.

“Calligraphy is coming back hard and fast” Tardy said. “People are becoming more educated in discerning the difference between a computer font and calligraphy because the beauty of calligraphy is not all the letters are the same.”

The Heritage Festival was a learning experience for people of all ages. Participants showcased a mountain man encampment and cowboy chuckwagons that were authentic to their appearance in the 1800s.

cowboy chuckwagon recreation

A cowboy chuckwagon shows how cowboys lived in the 1800s.

The purpose of the festival was to pass along the history of Missourians from the early 19th century. Performers from across the country came together to put on shows and demonstrations of the past.

Mountain men encampment recreation

Encampments allow festival attendees to explore the temporary homes of mountain men.

Jim “Two Crows” Wallen has made a career touring 46 states and four continents and putting on demonstrations with historically accurate clothing and artifacts. Wallen has been a part of the Heritage Festival for nine years, but has been preserving the past for 37 years.

“History is about how it affected the people. When you learn the people’s story, then you’re learning about history,” Wallen said.

Jim Wallen tells story in an encampment recreation.

Jim ‘Two Crows’ Wallen tells a folk story to a group of kids around him.

Through his use of storytelling, Wallen entertained kids and adults alike with the history of the native people.

Wallen was not the only person this weekend putting on a show for visitors. Between three stages, students from the Haskell Indian Nations University displayed traditional indian dancing, Pablo Baum told ghost stories and the Kansas City Celtic Pipe and Drum Corps performed.

Kansas City Celtic Pipe and Drum Corps on stage

The Kansas City Celtic Pipe and Drum Corps perform an Irish piece of music.

With the help of artists and performers, the festival showcased art forms and lifestyles of people from the 1800s and educated the general public about those who came before today’s society.

Tags: , , ,