Just two more weeks until the Neosho Fall Festival, and with it, History Alley.

Just two more weeks until the Neosho Fall Festival, and with it, History Alley.

Before that, next weekend, Newtonia is commemorating its 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Newtonia. I will be in Virginia that same weekend for my brother’s wedding (I’m the best man, so I probably had better go), so I won’t be able to attend the Newtonia festivities. That is no reason you can’t, though!

 I’ll be back in Neosho before the following Saturday, Oct. 6, and in time for the city’s fall festival and the Newton County Historical Society’s annual History Alley event. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be reporting on that day’s activities for the newspaper or participating in History Alley, but I’ll be there in any case.

History Alley, held at the Newton County Historical Museum, one block north of the Neosho Square, is always a neat event, with lots of demonstrations on things like lye soap making, blacksmithing, candle-making and more. Credit must go elsewhere for organizing the event this year (and last year, for that matter) but I love to see the old-time activities of the past. Of them all, blacksmithing may be my favorite. I love to hear the clang of the hammer and smell that distinct coal smoke smell. But that’s just me. I’m grateful that there are still people interested in keeping these yesteryear skills and crafts alive for us and future generations. And I think people really like to see these things, too.

Look at Silver Dollar City, for example. It isn’t just the amusement rides that attract people there.

The Ozark Folk Center, in Mountain View, Ark., is another popular destination where people go to watch and learn how things were done in the past. With that, visitors can also tap their toes to old-time Ozark mountain music. Sometimes the center also hosts celebrities. The Charlie Daniels Band performed there Friday.

But I digress. I guess I’m just happy that so many people enjoy and appreciate these pioneer arts and sciences as much as I do. You can see some of them on Oct. 6 at History Alley.

o o o
Last week I shared an idea of a classical music concert performed on all original period instruments. I wrote of it after reading about the Aston Magna Music Festival, which does that very thing, except they have an entire concert season.

My thought was just one concert a year. I suppose some folks laughed at that idea, but one lady did not. She is a retired music teacher and told me she has many antique musical instruments. Some of them wouldn’t suit the purposes of a classical music orchestra, but some of them would. I was sorry to have to tell her that I didn’t actually have any local classical musicians offering their talents to such an undertaking, or else I think she might have donated the pieces. As it is, they are all going up for auction on Sept. 29. If you are a classical musician and want more information about these instruments, and the auction they will be sold at, please call me at the number below and I’ll give you this person’s phone number.

I still think a classical music concert performed on restored antique instruments would be a unique event and draw in a good-sized crowd from the more curious-minded music lovers in our region. But, as ever, that’s just me.

Wes Franklin serves on the board of directors of the Newton County Historical Society. He is also a staff writer for the Neosho Daily News. He can be reached at 658-8443.