Village News

Refugees

   Syria and its refugee crisis have been prominent in the news of late. Because of atrocities taking place in that country, many of its residents have fled to find homes in a number of European countries. It seems to me that conditions in my home country would need to be extremely bad before I would choose to leave my home, my possessions, and maybe some of my family to re-establish myself in another country. And indeed, life in Syria currently appears to be exceptionally difficult.

   As I listen to the news, my mind is often drawn to Mennonite history stories I’ve heard from the 1920s and 1940s. Life in the former Soviet Union became very difficult for many people during those time periods.

   In her book The Russlaender, Sandra Birdsell tells the story of a young girl who lives through the horrors of 1920s Russia. During this post-World War I era, bands of bandits were raiding and brutalizing communities, particularly large estates. The girl in the story lives on an estate owned by a wealthy Mennonite because her father is an employee of the farm. The estate owner and most of his family are murdered by bandits. While the girl survives the massacre by hiding in a pit prepared for her by her father, she spends years experiencing the hardships common to refugees in that country at that time.

   When I was a boy, George Sawatzky was a professional photographer in Winkler. At that time, Mr. Sawatzky lived alone because he had become separated from his wife and daughter during their panicked attempt to flea Russia after World War II. He succeeded in getting onto the train (and eventually to Canada), but his family did not. As a result, they spent decades living in separate countries. When George and his wife finally located one another in their later years, Mrs. Sawatzky came to live in Canada, but their daughter only came to visit because she was now an adult and had a family of her own.

   Being refugees is part of our history as Mennonites. How quickly we forget the impact of those experiences. At Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) we try to help people remember and value their roots.

Fall on the Farm

   Our last festival of the 2015 season was wonderfully successful. Despite all the rain preceding the event and forecasted for festival day itself, we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day, with enough wind to keep the mosquitos in hiding and to provide a milling demonstration in the windmill. More than 1,900 people chose to come and enjoy the various pioneer demonstrations, entertainment, and food. While this is not a record turnout, it’s right up there with the best turnouts we’ve seen in recent years.

   The hog- and chicken-butchering demonstrations are always highlights at this festival. Children are quite fascinated to see all the parts of a chicken laid out on the table. Adults and children alike are intrigued by the process of making and smoking sausage.

   The ground was too wet for any field-work demonstrations, but the steamer was operational and did some of its work sawing lumber at the sawmill and also threshing a load of wheat sheaves. Firewood was cut by a horse-powered saw and the umgang.

   Many visitors took the opportunity to enjoy an MHV waffle with vanilla sauce, prepared by our MHV Auxiliary. This festival also offered fresh apple fritters and corn on the cob.

   We are grateful to have been so well supported by our constituency this year.

Calendar of Events

September 20 – Supper From the Field (4:30 & 6:30)

October 1 – Livery Barn Restaurant and outdoor Village closed for the season

October 4 – Vespers Service (7:00 PM)

 

October 15 – Volunteer Appreciation Evening (7:00 PM)

Village News

Fundraising

   While Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) earns approximately 60% of its revenue from our own business units (such as the Livery Barn Restaurant, Village Books and Gifts, MHV facility rentals, and admission sales), the remaining 40% of our expense budget must be covered through fundraising efforts. Additional revenue is generated through grant applications, specific fundraising events (like our Heritage Classic Golf Tournament, Supper From the Field, and waffle sales at Summer in the City), and through individual and corporate donations.

   Canada has more than 85,000 registered charities, in addition to all the unregistered groups like sports teams and school classes who sell chocolates, magazine subscriptions and grocery gift cards. So there is obviously a lot of competition for charitable dollars.

   Charities which feed the hungry, heal the sick, or save lost souls readily pull at our heart strings, and rightly so. Many other less emotionally appealing organizations also do very important work. We have no interest in debating, or even trying to determine, whose work is most important.

   Although MHV does not provide any of those critical services described above, we do carry out important work. As a museum, we preserve and interpret culture, which helps us to remember how we got to this place, this country, this environment of freedom and prosperity. Can we even imagine living in a community where heritage is not valued and culture is not preserved? How would we remember both the successes and the failures of our forebears and learn the things that those ups and downs can teach us? How would we pass along to our children these important lessons from history and engender in them a propensity to place value on understanding our past? How shallow would our lives be if we were preoccupied only with our present and our future? To be sure, we do need balance.

   MHV also does important work as a local tourist destination. Every year we welcome visitors from all across Canada, from more than half of the American states, and from more than 50 other countries. It would be interesting to know how many of these tourists would venture off the Trans-Canada Highway and come to Steinbach were it not for this museum. It would also be interesting to know how many dollars each of these tourists spends in our community before returning to the Trans-Canada Highway and continuing their travels. We believe the economic impact of having this museum located in our community is significant.

   During the next few weeks, MHV will be embarking on a new and significant fundraising project. In addition to the usual levels of support for the museum, we will be inviting the public to participate in funding for several vital and substantial projects. We will encourage donations and pledges of support for key initiatives that will help us build foundations for a strong future - a strong future for both our museum and our community.

Golf Tournament

   September 9 is the date of our Heritage Classic Golf Tournament. This year it takes place at The Links at Quarry Oaks. Tee-off time is 12:00, and lunch and dinner are included. Call Patricia at 204-326-9661 to register.

Calendar of Events

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament (12:00 Noon tee-off)

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Field Work

   The spectacle of the threshing demonstration, with the steam engine roaring and golden straw flying through the air, sparks interest and a crowd of spectators on festival days at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). And it’s no wonder. Seeing the machinery static, forlorn and sedentary, standing askew in the grass, just doesn’t cut it. Once coaxed into life, these machines transform into industrious agricultural monsters, too great and loud to ignore.

   Our threshing demonstration is more than just a great show. It also interprets a significant aspect of Mennonite life on the farm in earlier times, where threshing - much like a hog-butchering bee or barn raising - was a community-wide event. Similarly, for our demonstration it takes five or six volunteers to operate the thresher, with another three or four from Steam Club ’71 to operate the steam engine, the source of power.

   The threshing machine, powered by a belt from the steam engine, separates the grain kernels from the straw and chaff. It is a three-step process:
1. Bundles of grain are pitched into the hopper, or feeder. 

2. These bundles are fed into the separator, a rapidly rotating set of blades that tears the bundles apart, then knocks kernels from the straw. The straw rack removes most of the straw, and the rest falls onto a series of progressively smaller shaking screens, removing more straw and chaff.

3. In the cleaner, a stream of air blows the remaining straw and chaff away. The clean kernels are dropped into a waiting wagon, while the straw and chaff are blown out onto a straw pile.

   Threshing is far from being the only agricultural endeavour at Mennonite Heritage Village. We have approximately seven acres divided into three fields. Crops are rotated so each year we have a field each of wheat, oats, and summer fallow. The land is cultivated, seeded, and harvested with significant involvement of some South East Implement Collectors Club members.

   To break up the land, we use either the heavy 6-bottom plow, which requires the steam engine to pull it; a 3-bottom plow, pulled by a tractor; or the single-bottom breaking plow pulled by a team of horses.

   After the crops are cut and bound into sheaves with a binder, the sheaves are stooked. (A stook, also known as a shock, is an arrangement of grain sheaves in a tapered construction designed to keep the grain heads off the ground and protect them from precipitation.) Last week, staff and volunteers stooked our field of oats. These stooks will now be stacked on wagons and stored until they can be threshed. We use oats here at the museum as feed, and it is eaten with gusto by our horses, cows, sheep and goats.

   Thank you to our volunteers who coax these old machines into life each year and make the interpretation of Mennonite pioneering life possible. Check out our upcoming threshing demonstration at Fall on the Farm on September 7! 

Calendar of Events

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

 

 

Village News

Volunteer Opportunities

   Volunteers enrich any community. It’s been quite a while since we last wrote about volunteer opportunities at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). These opportunities change somewhat with the seasons. Summer provides many opportunities for people who enjoy cutting grass. We have three ride-on mowers and even now could use more operators who have experience with similar equipment.

   There is work for aspiring arborists. We have young trees that need to be tended and encouraged. We have mature trees that need pruning, and we have old trees that need to have dead branches removed.

   We are always looking for people with woodworking or carpentry skills. Picnic tables, benches and fences need repairs. The screen doors that slam shut after every time they are opened often need some skilled attention. Right now we have one that needs to be rebuilt. Looking ahead, we plan to rebuild our chicken cages and shelters in October. During the winter we would like to repair wagons and rebuild wooden wagon wheels in our heated shop. Many of these items need painting once they’ve been repaired. The list never ends.

   MHV does not have an Information Technology (IT) department. We would be delighted to find a volunteer who could help us resolve day-to-day computer challenges. For those of us who don’t have high levels of expertise with computers, attempting to trouble-shoot those technology issues is an inefficient use of our time.

  We are aware that a number of our supporting clubs are also looking for new volunteers. Specifically, the MHV Auxiliary would welcome people who love to prepare and serve food, who enjoy the various aspects of quilting, and/or who enjoy serving the public. The Auxiliary provides a significant fundraising function for MHV, and its members also serve as good ambassadors for our organization.

   No doubt the local Steam Club would also be happy for some new volunteers. During Pioneer Days they were short-staffed and therefore unable to operate the steamer. These people also provide much of the expertise when it comes to setting up the threshing machine. Not very many people know how to do that anymore, so we need new volunteers to learn and become involved.

   We always have a need for volunteers who know how to harness and drive teams of horses. During May and June we harness the team almost every day for the children who attend our Education Program. On festival days there is typically a high demand for horse-drawn wagon rides. It’s usually too much for one team to handle, so we need additional teams on those days. Normally the local Draft-Horse Club comes to help out, and no doubt they would be open to new members as well.

   We also have a number of winter opportunities. Clearing snow from sidewalks and the parking lot often needs to be attended to fairly quickly after a snowfall or a storm. We have a variety of snow-clearing equipment and simply need the people to volunteer their time to give to these invigorating tasks. An indoor winter opportunity involves photography. We would like to photograph all of our 16,000 artifacts so that we could add digital images to our artifact database. Someone who enjoys photography and working with technology could be helpful to MHV in this area.

   Fall on the Farm will take place on Labour Day. We will again need about 100 people to volunteer at various tasks like supervising parking, taking admission, cooking or serving in the short-order booth, volunteering as a blacksmith or printer, or serving as an interpreter in one of our heritage buildings.

   Call us at 204-326-9661 if any of these opportunities catch your attention.

Calendar of Events

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament at Quarry Oaks

September 20 – Supper From the Field fundraiser

 

 

Village News

New Donations

   New donations add to our collection of artifacts and our collection of stories. The stories are often as interesting as the artifacts. Here are a couple of those stories.

Burial Frock

   Some of the artifacts donated to Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) shed light on all aspects of life and death. Mary Luewen recently donated a burial frock or “chemise”, which is a dress resembling a nightshirt. The burial frock is part of an old funerary tradition, considered scriptural by many Mennonites, who cite Revelation 3:4 “…and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” The frock was worn by the deceased until a white funeral shroud and coffin could be made. It could be passed down to the children of the deceased, with the intention of being used again, or kept by the family as a way to remember the departed.

   Luewen’s donated burial frock originally belonged to Maria Toews (b. 1857). She married Jacob B. Krueger in the year 1879. According to the donor, the frock was first worn on the wedding night, and last worn at one’s funeral. The embroidery would seem to support this, as it contains her initials and “1879,” the year of her wedding. Maria died in 1889 while giving birth to her sixth child. Her daughter, also named Maria, was six years old when her mother died. The frock was passed down to her daughter, Maria (Toews) Voth. Maria Voth never wore it, but kept it. Burial frocks like Maria Toews’ were commonly used in Russia but less so in Manitoba, especially after the 1930s when funeral services moved away from the home and into established funeral businesses.

Normal School Certificate and Diploma

   Another recent donation to MHV’s collection is a diploma and certificate from a Normal School, or teachers training college, in Morden. It was donated by Leona Rempel. These artifacts reflect the occupational opportunities and limitations placed upon Mennonite women in the early 1900s. Teaching was a profession that unmarried Mennonite women were encouraged to pursue. Helena Hiebert was born in Winkler, Manitoba and attended Normal School in Morden. She graduated at the age of 20 in September, 1913. Helena’s first teaching assignment was to a small country school in the Pembina Hills. She moved on to a schoolhouse of approximately 40 children in Winkler. After receiving an offer from Steinbach she decided to continue her teaching career there. At that time, the village of Steinbach did not encourage extended schooling beyond age 15. Here she met a friendly car salesman by the name of Jacob Toews (a grandson of the pioneer of 1873, Cornelius Toews). They married in 1921. At that time in history, marriage ended a woman’s teaching career. Helena’s daughter was born in 1924. In 1929, Jacob passed away very suddenly. In this school district at that time, neither married women nor widows would have been hired as teachers, so life became difficult for Helena and her family. Helena spent her days into old age making a living having boarders or foster children. She passed away at age 88.

   We would like to thank all donors for entrusting their artifacts to MHV. Like these two artifacts, each object can illuminate a unique aspect of Russian Mennonite history in Manitoba. If you are interested in donating to the collection, we would be pleased to discuss your artifact with you.

Calendar of Events

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament at Quarry Oaks

September 20 – Supper From the Field fundraiser

Village News

Pioneer Days a Success

   Pioneer Days, the Signature Festival of Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), was successful in a number of respects. Attendance at this four-day event was up for the fourth consecutive year. Just less than 6900 guests chose to participate in the festivities. Clearly the perfect weather contributed significantly to this strong attendance.

   Pioneer demonstrations contributed to success insofar as they were new to many guests. This year we were pleased that Friesen Drillers again demonstrated well drilling as it was done 100 years ago. It was a popular demonstration last year, and again this year. One of the current year’s new demonstrations was a recently restored player piano. Dozens of people gathered round each time to hear great music produced by the pianist using his legs more than his hands.

   We believe the strong presence of families with young children in the audience is an indicator of success. It’s gratifying to see all these children learning to appreciate the museum. We hope some will be inspired to get involved in museum work in the future.

   The community contributed in various ways. The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce again provided support by way of planning the Pioneer Days Parade. 35 local organizations provided sponsorship for this and other summer events. Special interest clubs like the MHV Auxiliary, The Steinbach and Area Garden Club, the Southeast Draft Horse Association and Steam Club ’71 all supported our work.

   Last, but certainly not least, hundreds of volunteers served one or more shifts at jobs varying from supervising parking to flipping burgers. All of these contributors added to the success of the day.

   Our dependence on volunteers also reminds us regularly that this dependence is also vulnerability. This year the steamer was not in use because the local steam club didn’t have enough certified operators available to run it safely. We wonder how long we will be able to offer demonstrations with a steam engine when only a small number of people still know how to operate a steamer and no new people are learning. Will we be able to offer a threshing demonstration ten years from now if we can’t find people interested in learning how to operate a thresher? Skills such as threshing, log sawing, spinning and quilting are not required in today’s economy.

The Waldheim House

   For several years it has been obvious to us that our oldest heritage house, The Waldheim House, has been in need of significant repairs. The log walls need new chinking, the interior walls need to be re-plastered and the roof needs a new layer of thatch. But these are very specialized repairs because they are not generally required today and as a result, there are very few people who have the skill to do them. Hence they are also quite costly.

   Recently we have secured funding of $100,000 from Western Economic Diversification Canada. This, along with additional funding from some local and other government partners, should make the repairs feasible over the next several years.

   This project should generate broad interest in that the house comes from the former village of Waldheim, just south of Morden, Manitoba, and other heritage organizations will have the opportunity to view the specialized work that will be done here.

Calendar of Events

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Player Piano Restoration

   For the very first time at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), visitors will get a chance to listen to our newly restored player piano during Pioneer Days! Player pianos have captured the imagination of so many listeners over the years, with their delightful jukebox capabilities and mysterious inner workings.

   Also known as the pianola or self-playing piano, the instrument reads its sheet music off rolls of perforated paper, with its pneumatic mechanism, pressurized by the foot pedals, pressing the keys. According to Lydia Dyck, donor of our newly restored instrument, the pneumatic mechanism was taken out of this piano by her father when she was a child, so as to remove distractions and encourage serious practice. This last year, Lydia enlisted the expertise of Gerry Neufeld to restore the original mechanism. After many hours of complex work, he has successfully brought the piano back to full functionality.

   This player piano was purchased by Elizabeth (Penner) Hamm between 1923 and 1934, when she was a young woman. Elizabeth migrated from Russia to Canada in 1905 as a baby, with her mother and grandparents. When she was seventeen she attended Normal School in Regina and became a teacher. She taught for eleven years in one-room schools in the Herbert, Saskatchewan, area. It was during her teaching years that she decided to buy this player piano.

   From an early age, Elizabeth’s daughter, Lydia, loved music. She took lessons and practiced on this piano, later teaching many of her students on it as well. She completed her Bachelor of Education with a Music Major and went on to study harmony and take her Grade 10 piano program at the University of Edmonton. Lydia married Henry Dyck, and in 1976 they moved from Saskatoon to Steinbach. In Steinbach, Lydia began teaching music and giving piano lessons full time. She taught choir and band and learned to play several more instruments.

   When Lydia donated her player piano to the museum in 2010, she explained its significance to her family’s history and to her own story and faith: “When I look at this antique player piano and its story, I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to learn not only notes with it but also develop the gifts I had within me, and to share the music with a wide area of musicians in our southern Manitoba area today. Out of gratitude I choose to have this piano at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum as a symbol, when I am gone, of what God can do if we give what we have for others.”

   We would like to express our thanks to Lydia Dyck for donating this artifact to our collection at Mennonite Heritage Village and also to Gerry Neufeld for his enthusiasm for the project and the countless hours of volunteer time he gave to restore this piano to playing condition. Please join us in the MHV Auditorium for a demonstration featuring this unique artifact on Friday, July 31, at 3:30; Saturday, August 1, at 3:00; and Monday, August 3, at 3:00.

Calendar of Events

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

July 31, August 1 & 3 – Player-Piano Demo with Gerry Neufeld

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Foundations for a Strong Future

   Healthy organizations spend a significant amount of time anticipating and planning for the future. This planning is likely to be more effective when the leaders of the organization understand and build on its foundations. At Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) we are fortunate to have strong and durable foundations.

Faith

   It is the faith of the Anabaptist reformers of the 16th century that gave rise to a Mennonite people-group and a Mennonite culture. The faith of these people gave them the courage to adopt practices which were out of step with the practices of the church and government of that day and to face persecution and martyrdom because of it. Choices such as re-baptism as adults and refusal to become involved in armed conflict were very costly for some.

   It was faith that prompted people to immigrate to new lands and endure the hardships of pioneering in those new lands. On more than one occasion, these Mennonites settled in areas that were inhospitable and undeveloped, resulting in extreme hardships. Many of the earliest Mennonite settlers in Canada spent at least one winter living in a Semlin, a small sod hut partly submerged in the ground. One need only step into our replica Semlin at the museum to imagine and appreciate the challenges of a large family spending the entire winter there.

Family

   Family has typically been foundational in Mennonite life and culture. Privileges negotiated with the government of their migration destination typically included the freedom to provide and control the education of their children, including language and religious education. When Mennonites in Canada lost this freedom in the early twentieth century, many chose to migrate to a new land where it could again be ensured. This time they established colonies in Mexico and Paraguay.

   Today MHV structures itself as a family-friendly museum, designed to provide quality family education and entertainment.

Community

   Mennonites embrace numerous models of community. When the first immigrants arrived from Russia in the 1800s, their normal settlement pattern was the formation of villages. This naturally created a community of families who supported one another by providing goods and services within the village but also by simply being neighbourly and supportive to any in need.

   The church has been a key gathering place and community for Mennonites for centuries. It has been, and in many cases continues to be, the place where people meet to celebrate births, baptisms, and marriages and to offer hope to those who are sorrowing. At times and in certain circles, the church also managed some of the group’s resources to provide for widows and orphans.

   Mennonite Heritage Village is undergirded by a community of people who value their roots and sense the importance of preserving the stories of their forebears so that children and young people can learn from these stories. MHV also serves the greater surrounding community as an educational institution, a playground, and a venue for meetings and social gatherings.

   On the durable strength of its foundation, MHV is poised to build and experience a strong future.

Calendar of Events

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

West Reserve 140th Anniversary

   The first Mennonites to come from Russia to Canada arrived in Southeastern Manitoba in 1874, in the area then known as the East Reserve and today as the Rural Municipality of Hanover. This is one of the reasons why the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is located where it is.

   According to an article written by Dr. Lawrence Klippenstein and published in Manitoba Pageant some time ago, Russian Mennonite immigration to Canada peaked the following year, making up 12% of settlers in Canada. As all the land previously designated for this people-group was taken up, new areas were explored, including land west of the Red River. The area between Emerson on the Red River and Mountain City, a small community just south of Morden at that time, was also considered and subsequently settled by many Mennonites. A parcel of 17 townships extending 18 miles north of the US/Canada border became known as the West Reserve, today making up the Rural Municipality of Rhineland (ten townships) and the Rural Municipality of Stanley (seven townships).

   Klippenstein further states that in the same year, 1875, many Mennonite immigrants arrived at Fort Dufferin, just north of Emerson, having come by steamer from Moorhead, Minnesota. These immigrants largely made their way west and settled in villages, in keeping with dwelling patterns from Russia and also used in the East Reserve. Eventually more than 50 villages were established. The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) states that more than 3,000 settlers arrived in the West Reserve in 1875 and another 800 in 1876. By 1880 a significant number of Mennonites had migrated from the East Reserve to the West Reserve, despite the fact that the land was almost treeless and they had to haul logs for fuel and lumber from forests farther west.

   Blumenort and Reinland were two of the first villages to take shape in the West Reserve. The first church in this area was built in Reinland and is today the Community Centre in the village.

   This Community Centre in Reinland will be conducting a dedication service for its cemetery and celebrating Reinland’s 140th birthday on July 18. As part of this day of celebration, the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society (MMHS) will commemorate the 140th anniversary of the arrival of Mennonites in that area formerly known as the West Reserve. A Book Launch for Outsiders Gaze: Life & Labour on the Mennonite West Reserve 1875 – 1922 will be part of the afternoon event.

   Celebrations begin at 11:00 a.m. with a parade of innovations. Lunch and supper will be available, and the evening will include Low-German and other entertainment and fireworks at dusk.

Calendar of Events

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Exhibit Opening

   An intriguing new exhibit has recently been assembled in the Gerhard Ens Gallery at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). In keeping with our theme for 2015, this exhibit has been named Mennonite Food: Tastes in Transition. The public is invited to attend an opening event on Thursday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m.

   Curator Andrea Dyck says, “The exhibit explores the question, ‘What is Russian Mennonite food?’ The answer to this question is interwoven with complex issues including religious beliefs, ethnic traditions, socio-economic realities, local landscapes and environments, neighbouring cultures, world politics, and international migrations. All of these influences have resulted in a diverse food tradition with a rich history. Today, nearly five centuries after the birth of Anabaptism, defining Mennonite food continues to be a dynamic and unfolding story.”

   The Gerhard Ens Gallery is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Tent on July 5 15

The Storm

   When we had to cancel our Spring on the Farm festival on Victoria Day, I made a point of telling people that when I acknowledge that God has created the weather which causes us to cancel such an event, the cancellation doesn’t upset me. I had to rethink that perspective last weekend. Those of us living in southeastern Manitoba will recall that we experienced a rather violent storm on Saturday evening. After the worst of the storm had passed, I headed over to the museum to check for damage and found our big tent virtually collapsed. The centre poles were still in place but many of the smaller poles around the perimeter were down, and many of the straps anchoring the tent had snapped. Contemplating the damage that the tent had possibly sustained and the work likely required to re-erect it left me feeling somewhat less charitable toward the weather and the God who controls our weather.

   As it turned out, we had almost no further wind for the rest of the weekend, so the crumpled tent stayed in place. On Monday morning a team of seven staff and volunteers spent three hours gently coaxing it back to its usual position. There was no visible damage to the tent, and nobody sustained any injuries in the process. I am very thankful and acknowledge the hand of God in this. We also look forward to the day when we will have a permanent building to replace this tent.

Canada Day Festival

   In the six-and-a-half years that I’ve been on staff at Mennonite Heritage Village, we’ve always tended to feel that an attendance of over 2,000 people per day is a good attendance for a festival day. And it is. On occasion we’ve seen up to 2,500 guests on such a day. This year on Canada Day we had over 5,100 guests. Despite the line-ups at the rides and food vendors, which were somewhat reminiscent of Disney World, guests appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the City of Steinbach in providing a venue to celebrate Canada Day.

   We were privileged to have a blogger from www.mommymoment.ca and her family at MHV for that day. Her blog indicates they had a very good time. We have also recently established our own YouTube channel for MHV. It can be located by searching for “Mennonite Heritage Village” in YouTube. Our channel currently contains video footage from our Canada Day festivities, including the flag-raising ceremony.

Calendar of Events

July 9 – Exhibit Opening at 7:00 p.m. at MHV

July 13-17 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 5-8

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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