Review: Pioneer Village open day

By Lani Maritz


Lani Maritz from Stratford writes this about her experience of the Pioneer Village open day:

The day was one of those that are just so unexpected that you don't know whether it actually happened or if it was just a perfect dream.

Monica (Maritz), known as Ouma to her grandchildren, took all her children and grandchildren to the Pioneer Village outside Stratford for lunch. The parents were kept sane by the play park where the children burned off all their excess energy.

The promise of a train ride had everyone hurrying down the slope, through the reception and into a different world.

Men, women and children dressed in old-fashioned clothes, the sound of the train echoing, music playing on the front porch of one of the houses, ladies sitting along the footpaths with their spinning wheels, the ring of the blacksmith's hammer ... all told stories of lives lived.

At the station, a sound filled the air: a choo-choo and a clickety-clack. Then, with a cloud of smoke from its chimney, the train arrived.

Tickets were held ready for the ticket master to clip. Excited squeals from the children could be heard as the train moved along, its passengers waving at everyone on the streets, with our little Conrad showing everyone aboard the correct way to wave. Laughter came from all compartments of the train even as baby Olivia fell asleep in her Uncle Stephen's arms.

The next journey was on foot as the family started their slow trek through the village, to the ponies. On the way a stop was made at the blacksmith's, so Leonard could have a go at swinging the hammer.

The little ones waited patiently for a ride on the ponies. From 12-year-old Andrew to 3-year-old Kaitlin, the pleasure was etched on their faces as they were led around.

The end of the day had arrived. Children's happy but tired smiles showed that the day at Pioneer Village would forever be imprinted in their memories.

- Stratford Press

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