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Rustic Race and Traditional Wisdom at Kickapoo Valley Reserve
KVR trad wisdom rustic rafts
BASKET WEAVING will be one of the many traditional wisdom skills being demonstrated at the KVRs Traditional Wisdom event. The event will include a rustic raft competition on the Kickapoo River in the Reserve. Mark Katz is shown here weaving a basket.

LA FARGE - Take a step back in time on July 28 at The Kickapoo Valley Reserve, where the Traditional Wisdom Celebration will celebrate the past with a day of family-friendly fun. Bridge 14, at the Reserve will be the site of traditional crafts and skills demonstrations, a Rustic Raft Rally, guided nature hikes, a paleo smorgasbord and dinner, campfire entertainment, horse-drawn wagon rides, and other activities.

The event, which is free and open to the public, opens to the public at 10 a.m. with a bird walk led by Cathy Chybowski, Master Naturalist, and guided fishing with kids under 16 (bring your own pole, some available).

Demonstrations begin at 10 a.m., with Rhonda Funmaker doing traditional pit cooking preparation, and free paleo foods tasting. In addition to the demonstration, a paleo smorgasbord from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. will feature locally-grown fruits and vegetables in season, such as corn and squash, cranberries, maple tea, bread made on the fire, wild rice, and fish.

Later in the day, at 5 p.m., a traditional paleo meal from pit cooking will be served. Fifty tickets are available for  purchase in advance at the KVR or at the event while supplies last.  $12/adult, $6/ Kids under 10. Call 608 625-2690 to reserve tickets.

Demonstrations continue throughout the day and include these crafts and skills:

Beekeeping, and honey production - Aaron Larson will share his knowledge on raising bees and producing honey.

Plant-based remedies - Tracy Mangold, of Owl & Crow Herbal CSA, crafts local plant concoctions for her community, and provides consultation and lessons. Her presentation will focus on different methods of making food and medicine from burdock.

Wood-carving - Jared Torkelson will demonstrate how to carve spoons and other utensils the old-fashioned way.

Blacksmithing, cold techniques - Robert Schultz, an area blacksmith, will demonstrate cold-working - the process of making a metal harder and stronger without the use of a forge.

Flintknapping - Aaron Larson will show how to shape arrowheads and other tools using traditional stone-on-stone chipping techniques.

Maple sugaring - Eric Weninger from B and E’s Trees will teach about traditional maple syrup harvesting, and will include the history & lore of maple sap collection, tree identification, traditional sap collection techniques, and how the tradition has carried on into modern times.

Basket weaving - Mark Katz will weave baskets from locally-harvested, renewable materials such as red osier dogwood, weeping willow, pussy willow and swamp willow.

Horse-drawn wagon rides will take riders back in time along the Old 131 trail from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a treasure hunt from noon to 3 p.m. will lead hunters on a short hike around the Reserve, searching for clues to the final treasure. Fifty prizes will be awarded.

The Rustic Raft Rally begins at landing 12 p.m. on the Reserve, and at 1 p.m., and rafts float to bridge 14, the site of the event. These homemade rafts, built entirely of natural materials, must have two persons half out of the water when they cross the finish line in order to share the prize money.

Registered rafters include families, scout troops, single individuals - adults and teenagers. Watch the launch from Landing 12 and view the float along Old 131 Trail or bring a bike and enjoy the trail and view the rafts. Visit the bridge 13 historical site and enjoy the covered bridge on Old 131 trail.

The rafts will be on display at the event grounds from 10 a.m. - noon. Cast a stone for your favorite raft to determine the People’s Choice Award - $1 a stone. Money collected will be donated to the rafters.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a campfire sing-along and entertainment. Bring an instrument and join in the fun with Tor Eness, Mark Katz, Fred and Pam Peters, and other local musicians.

Star gazing with KVR astro-educators will close the evening activities.

In case of inclement weather on the day of the event, the timing an/or location of this event may be changed. Check or call the Reserve at 608 625-2960 for updates. This event is sponsored by Friends of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.