Pioneer Settlement Spring Frolic

Pioneer Settlement

jamWe’ve been talking about going to this event at the Barberville Pioneer settlement for years, and we finally made it! What a great time this was! This event is a little laid back, no real bone chilling excitement going on, but plenty – and I mean plenty of Bluegrass, Folk and Old Time music going on. I lost count of the official “stages” with live music happening, not to mention the impromptu jams under random oak trees or behind buildings. Let me tell you, if you like this kind of music, or if you are a player, the Spring Frolic is going to be your paradise!


Country StoreThis festival was held at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts, which is a “museum village” where pioneer life is exhibited in the historical buildings either built there or moved to the site, along with the trades and crafts of pioneer lifestyle in the 1800s and early 1900s. The settlement is cool enough all by itself, but when you add arts and craft booths along with era appropriate music from sunup to sundown, you just can’t help coming away with a feeling of how much more peaceful a simpler life back in the “good ol’ days” must have been.

As we meandered from band to band, stage to stage, and building to building, it was hard not to think, “I wish I could live here!” We wandered into the period blacksmith shop, then learned about wheel making in the wagon wheel shop, after which we spent more than a few hours in and out of different period exhibits of quilting, spinning, looming, wood working, trains, I could go on and on. And since this was an event, there were of course things to do for those who needed a little more action.

Water Tower

Pioneer Settlement – Jump in and Jam

There were any number of jams going on where everyone was welcome to jump in and play – if you brought your instrument – or sing – if you knew the songs – or just dance to the tunes that you will certainly have heard sometime in your life, probably your childhood. It seemed like every other person we passed was carrying a violin, guitar or some implement of musical construction. The atmosphere was uniquely “old timey”, with many ladies sporting period dresses and bonnets, and men decked out in expected settler gear.

old machineAfter making the “loop” a few times, my wife and I started wondering where our teenage daughter had escaped to. She was with us at one point until she met up with some friends from a local orchestra she is a part of, and naturally, instantly vanished from our view. We began looking for her when the sound of stomping caught our attention. It was coming from the large settlement schoolhouse that included the community hall, kitchen and other areas of interest. Our curiosity peaked and we figured we would find the kid later, so we went to investigate the source of the stomping. Up the stairs to the schoolhouse we went, and the wonderful sound of happy voices and square dancing music met our ears. It was coming from two sets of double doors to the community hall, each of which being totally swarmed with onlookers. We wormed our way close enough to peek inside where we immediately saw our teenager flying by (or was it sachey’ing by…) and being spun, doe-sa-do’ed and promenaded along with 50 or so other victims bitten by the square dancing bug. As wonderful as the day had been, it was made even more perfect seeing that smile on her face that parents dream of – a smile of unbridled innocent happiness in their child. The day was complete.

barn 13Mark your calendars to start looking for this festival around this time next year. It is a unique adventure, and will last the whole day. The settlement is open year round with something going on almost every weekend, but on certain dates special events such as the Spring Frolic are held. If you like looking back in time and hearing good old time music in a creative atmosphere, you will thoroughly enjoy the Pioneer Settlement Spring Folic. Visit the Pioneer Settlement website HERE or go to for information on the settlement and event dates.

Off To Wander


4 thoughts on “Pioneer Settlement Spring Frolic

  1. Kathy Hawkins says:

    I have been there a few times and really enjoyed it. Didn’t square dance, but I need Nikki to teach me. She looks like a pro. The girls have been there on school field trips – Jessie got too interested in the pottery making and got separated from the group. Good thing she had on an Ortona shirt. Some good samaritan reunited her with her with the class just in time for the bus home. Looks like a fun time for all.

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