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The Katy Folklife festival is April 10 at The Outdoor Learning Center

Katy Kids Step Back in Time Once a Year at the Outdoor Learning Center

With horses and goats walking around, blacksmiths working in their shops, and children making corn husk dolls, Katy ISD’s Folk Life Festival has brought Texas’ pioneer history to life for the past 25 years. Katy ISD’s Outdoor Learning Center will once again transform itself into scenes of Texas in the 1800’s on April 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a slew of pioneer activities planned. Kids can observe honey bee keeping, blacksmith demonstrations, horseshoeing, and a soldier reenactment, where en yell out, “Fire in the hole,” as gunshots resound.

Folk Life Festival Event

The festival will be held on Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at The Outdoor Learning Center. The OLC is located west of the Katy ISD Administrative Building at 6301 S. Stadium Lane  The cost is $1 per person.

Everyone from kids and adults to volunteers is invited to join in the festivities. Judy Blanchard says, “I have 200 pigeons, which I use military materials to train. The kids can pet them and even release them if the weather is good.” Smoke, animals, the smell of food cooking, music, and costumed people will fill the atmosphere, bringing back memories for some and creating new ones for others.

Hands-on Activities

Includes roping, tin punching, weaving and quilting, dulcimer lessons, gourd painting, clay pottery, making corn husk dolls and rag dolls, calligraphy, and corn husking, shelling, and grinding

Festival Origins

The Outdoor Learning Center stands as 35 acres of land kept in its natural state for the sake of teaching young students lessons in science and social studies, usually during school field trips. In 1985, Kenneth D. Welch decided to extend the lessons to do something special for the Texas Centennial, by creating an entire day reserved for pioneer experiences brought to the modern world, a moment in time captured in one place. Ray Wolman now runs the center and the festival, which has a low entrance fee of $1 per person. In the beginning, Wolman and Welch threw everything together themselves, a somewhat overwhelming feat. Over time, the festival has turned into a fascinating learning experience, where people offer constructive criticism and help it to grow and improve each year.

Adapted from Krista Kessler’s story in Katy Magazine Spring Issue 2010

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