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Archive for Sunday, June 28, 1998

FESTIVAL PLAYS UP LECOMPTON HERITAGE

June 28, 1998

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Visitors to Lecompton Territorial Capital Festival got a touch of history and a touch of fun Saturday.

Up the hill from the blaring carnival rides, Natalya Lawther of Lawrence was spinning wool into yarn.

She carefully pumped the pedal of the spinning wheel, keeping an even pace as children spinning around on a mechanical ride screamed in the background.

Several living history craftsmen sold their wares Saturday on the hill next to Constitution Hall at the Territorial Capital Festival in Lecompton.

Lawther kept the wheel spinning while explaining how to make yarn. In a pen next to her wheel, two sheep, Sparkle and Ebonezer, bleated at visitors, looking for attention. She explained they were bottle-fed Lincoln sheep.

``It's a very old breed,'' she said, ``a British breed.''

Nearby, Bill Soetaert made brooms out of broom corn on his antique broom winder.

``I build my brooms just like in 1855,'' he said, twisting the handle to wrap the wire tightly around the broom corn. The difference between his brooms and modern ones, he said, is that his don't fall apart.

``Some things don't change a lot,'' he said. ``A broom is still a broom.''

Next to Soetaert's brooms, his wife, Toni, sold dress-your-own rag dolls. Different cloth scraps decorated little dolls of tied canvas. She also had felt balls.

``I call these the 1800s Nerf balls,'' she said. The wool balls were perfectly safe to play in the house with, she said.

The annual festival also included a carnival, frog races, a softball tournament, three-on-three basketball games, an ice cream social, a play called ``Prelude to Civil War,'' a parade and musical events.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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