Dryden's Homestead Heritage Fair Day Honors Rural Heritage

By Mary Hornbuckle, Dryden Town Historical Society

The Southworth Homestead became the headquarters of the Dryden Town Historical Society in 2012. It had been the home of Dryden’s prominent Southworth family since 1836. Rebecca Southworth Simpson, a founding member of the society and the last member of the Southworth family to live in the house, left the property to the society in her will with the stipulation that it continued to be cherished and open to the community. 

Southworth House.jpeg

Since that time, we have endeavored to comply with Becky’s wishes, and one of our favorite community events is the annual Homestead Heritage Fair Day. The event has been held in early fall since 2014 and includes activities, demonstrations, and exhibits for the enjoyment of the entire family. Common to each fair has been lively music, children’s toys and games, demonstrations of heritage skills and crafts, animal exhibits, horse and wagon rides, tasty food for sale, and tours of the Southworth House ($5 fee for tours). 

The 2018 Homestead Heritage Fair Day will be held on Saturday, October 6, from 10 AM to 3 PM on the grounds of the Southworth Homestead, 14 North Street (Rt. 13) in Dryden. This date also commemorates Becky’s Birthday, and the house will be decorated for the party. 

Come and join the fun! Watch spinners turning sheep’s fleece into yarn or a blacksmith at his forge, take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon, watch demonstrations of dog agility training, sheep shearing, chair caning, cross-stitch, and basketry, see the magnificent birds of prey from Cornell’s Raptor Program, play with toys that your great-grandparents might have enjoyed, listen to the music of the Ithaca Concert Band and the Cortland Old Timers Band, and take a guided tour of the historic Southworth House--Tompkins County’s only historic home open to the public. All this and much more!

Dryden Homestead Heritage Festival.jpg

This year’s fair will coincide with the Ithaca Heritage “Authentically Rural Weekend--October 5th through 7th--and we are proud to be a part of what promises to be a memorable county-wide celebration of our combined local history.

Dryden's Homestead Heritage Fair Day is made possible in part by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program.