2008 Bridgeport Fall Festival
Herb Lindberg

Sunday, October 26, 2008
Part 1 of 5

This year, what was known as Ghosts of Bridgeport was renamed the Bridgeport Fall Festival to reflect a new emphasis on family activities while still retaining docents playing rolls of historical characters at Bridgeport.  The pageant of Yankee Jim's burial leading to the Kneebone Cemetery has been replaced by a Mountain Man encampment of hunters and trappers of the Gold Rush era.  The campers tell their stories and answer questions about their way of life in about 1850.

The festival was an exciting day of entertainment for the whole family. Children painted more than one hundred pumpkins and took them home with them.  As many children also had their faces painted with Halloween pictures.  Music filled the air from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as Mountain Laurel, The Anderson Family, and the Celtic Duo played on a covered stage next to the Historic Barn. 

Mountain Man (and Woman) campers told stories and answered questions from their several tents set up the night before in the grassy area next to the Visitor Center.  They also demonstrated tomahawk and knife throwing into a log-slice target, and explained the workings of their muzzle loading long rifles which they used in their hunting and trapping livelihood.  Meanwhile, others in their group took children and adults on wagon rides along the Virginia Turnpike and across the covered bridge on Cal Rowland's horse-drawn wagon.

Three food areas were bustling with as many as 800 visitors, serving hot dogs and tamales at one, ice cream bars dipped in coverings of choice at another, and apple and pumpkin pies with coffee at a table next to the old Kneebone gas station. 

In addition to docents playing historic characters from the Kneebone and Thompson families, we were privileged to have a visit by Phyllis Kingsford, real-life granddaughter of Alfred Kneebone who ran the gas station and pleasure resort upriver from the bridge.

All the normal park activities were also in full swing.  Docents greeted visitors at the history table, answered questions about gold-rush era wagons in the barn, demonstrated blacksmith techniques and basket weaving, and helped children of all ages pan for gold and bottle their treasure to take home with them.

Poster contest winning entries from 5th grader Riley Moeller of Pleasant Valley School and 3rd grader Tayelor Leppek of Williams Ranch School were displayed, and the winners and their families were introduced to the crowd from the stage.  We thank all the artists for their effort and beautiful paintings.

This pictorial report of the event is divided into five pages as follows:

Page 1.  Wagon rides, gold panning, face painting (this page)
Page 2.  Pumpkin painting, barn tours
Page 3.  Animal
life booth, Visitor Center, Mountain Man (and Woman) camp
Page 4.  Music
Page 5.  Lunch and desert, blacksmith, live history visits, docent high jinks

Mountain Man encampment players take visitors on a wagon ride in Cal Rowland's rig.
Hundreds of visitors got to ride as the wagon went up and down the Virginia Turnpike all day.

The wagon continued along the Virginia Turnpike, over the bridge, and now returns.

A mountain woman at the reins while a mountain man rides shotgun

Cal Rowland took the reins on this trip.

Closer view

The wagon rolls past the Historic Barn and back along the Virginia Turnpike.

The wagon stops on its next trip to let this girl pat a horse's head.

The two gold panning troughs were busy all day.  Docent Dodie helps a boy get his gold into a bottle to take home.

Face painting was popular, with a steady stream of children as parents watched.

This girl and her father were pleased by the horse with flying mane on her cheek

This fellow preferred a Halloween spider.

He then went directly to the pumpkin table to try his hand at art.

Jump to:  |   Page 1 (this page)  |   Page 2   |   Page 3   |   Page 4   |   Page 5   |   Home