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Pioneer Days: New Soddy-Daisy event is a celebration of local history, old-time skills

A rake made by Larry Ridge. Photo by Angela Lewis Foster.

Poe’s Tavern, originally built in what would be called Poe’s Crossing (eventually Daisy and later Soddy-Daisy), has been an important landmark in the area for almost 200 years.

On May 31, crafters will gather on the tavern lawn for the first Pioneers Days, a celebration of the history of the tavern, the area and the time when things were made by hand.

Organizer Bud Ellis says the event is not designed to be a craft fair, as such, with vendors selling their wares, but as a demonstration of how things were done.

“The crafters are not there to sell,” he says. “They are there to show people how to make things when they have nothing.”

Ellis says he has enlisted the services of a carver, a lather, a blacksmith, wool spinners, quilters and someone who will demonstrate the art of tatting doilies.

“We will also have an antique black-powder gun display,” he says. “I’m still looking for a wheel-thrown potter.”

Dave Sheppard, an instructor at Horsin’ Around, the Soddy-Daisy business founded by Ellis that teaches people to build wooden carousel horses has been spending his time lately carving traditional children’s toys in anticipation of Pioneer Days.

“I primarily make carousel animals, but that doesn’t fit into the 1850s time period,” he says. “Lately, we’ve been making ball-and-chains and small animals like bears and a couple of dogs. Something that would be a toy at that period.”

Sheppard had spent his career shaping metal into usable objects, but got into carving about 20 years ago and says it is a great way to unwind.



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