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Park Commission Events

Lincoln & Lee’s Ladies Fashion Show
Everyone loves a great fashion show, but this one has a unique twist. Remember those gorgeous gowns that Scarlett O’Hara wore in the epic movie, Gone With The Wind? This year, Historic Speedwell’s fashion show features charming women’s apparel dating back to the 1850s with Civil War flair, recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. 

Lincoln and Lee’s Ladies Historic Fashion Show, held on Sunday, September 21, takes place in the historic Vail House in Morristown. Models garbed in attire dating before, during, and after the Civil War discuss the impact of the War Between the States on women’s clothing. Take an up-close and personal look at hoop skirts, lace collars, everyday dresses, and hand-knitted shawls.  The models discuss interesting and historically accurate daily life during this time period, with fascinating stories highlighting the Vail Family, who lived in the house during the 1860s.

Tours of Historic Speedwell begin at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.  Space is limited in the Vail House; guests should preregister to ensure they are included on the tour.  The cost for admission to this event is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $5 for children.  Children under 4 are FREE. For more information or to register for this historic event, call 973.285.6537.
Autumn Open House at Willowwood Arboretum
Celebrate the changing seasons and rediscover one of New Jersey’s most beautiful public gardens, Willowwood Arboretum in Chester Township. On Sunday, October 5, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., the falling leaf, the slanting sun, and a palette of jewel tones are the subject of our collective admiration. 

Wander Willowwood’s paths on your own, or enjoy a variety of tours including: ‘The Final Act’ that highlights seasonal changes; ‘The Story of Willowwood’ cell phone tour  that guides you through the Arboretum’s core gardens providing interesting commentary along the way; and ‘Meadow Watch’ that explores Willowwood’s 21-acre meadow. Each of the staff-led tours are just under an hour.

The meadow also offers up a rich bounty for flower arranging. Watch as floral designers create ‘Meadow Drama,’ using Indian and Little Bluestem grasses, pods, buds, Goldenrod and Asters. Bluebirds abound in the meadow. Their summer meals of insects will soon end. Children can make a special bluebird feeding cup to hang in their favorite meadow, get some suet recipes, and help their resident bluebirds this winter.

Curious about Willowwood’s history? A presentation filled with archival photographs highlights the garden’s founders, Henry and Robert Tubbs. The Tubbs residence, built in the 1700’s, will be open for viewing and selected artifacts exhibited.

Families will enjoy the ‘Autumn Leaf Scavenger Hunt.’ Sharpen your observation skills and be rewarded with a plant prize. At 1 p.m., a concert by the A.L.L. Trio fills the Cottage Garden with easy, folk-rock sounds to match the mellow autumn mood. Light refreshments are provided by the Willowwood Foundation. All together, the Autumn Open House at Willowwood Arboretum is a perfect choice for a fall afternoon outing. A fee of $5 per car is required. Please bring exact change. For more information, please visit or call 908.234.1815. On day of event, call 973.326.7600.
Steampunk City at Historic Speedwell
Calling all Steampunks and lovers of history to a weekend-long immersion festival…in the mid-1880s. Experience a rare opportunity to use a unique blend of history and science to walk through time. You only need to imagine a world much different from what we know; a world of machines, gears, and springs powered by steam. This is International Steampunk City: Steampunk at Speedwell, an event set in a time period of unknown origins at Historic Speedwell in Morristown, on Saturday, October 11 & Sunday, October 12 from 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Historic Speedwell invites you to sample the latest advances in temporal exploration, capable of bringing your favorite moments in time directly to you. Arrive at registration wearing your favorite Victorian or Steampunk day-wear! To truly experience this immersion opportunity to its fullest, enjoy one-of-a-kind shopping experiences, take part in the varied discussions and workshops, and watch the demonstrations of crafts and trades. There are musicians, performers, and entertainers. This is an event not to be missed by any respectable adventurer, anachronologist, or temporal voyager!

This program is a collaboration between Historic Speedwell and Jeff Mach Events, producers of The Steampunk World’s Fair, the world’s largest Steampunk show.  Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $11 for children ages 4-16, under age 4 are FREE.  Discounts are available for tickets purchased in advance.  For more information, please visit or call 973.285.6537.
Celebrate Lenape Day at the Great Swamp!
Spend a fun-filled afternoon at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham Township learning about the history and culture of the native people of New Jersey. Many people mistakenly believe that the Lenape no longer exist, but at this unique event, you can meet present-day Native Americans of the Ramapough Lenape and discover the ways their lives have changed over hundreds of years. Every elementary school child in the state studies the Lenape, but this event offers a once in a lifetime educational experience that simply can’t be matched in the classroom.

Bring the entire family on Saturday October 11, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., to see the Ramapough Lenape Indians as they present a traditional drum circle, dancers in regalia, handicrafts vendors, authentic tools and artifacts from hundreds of years ago, and a historical speaker and storyteller, all gathered around a model wigwam in the forest. Everyone can enjoy activities and crafts, such as molding a clay pot by the fire, making a fire without matches, and playing the real games that Lenape children played. Take a guided walk through the trails to discover how the Lenape used local plants to meet their needs, and explore the interior of the wigwam, set up as it would have been hundreds of years ago.

Admission is $5 per person ages 3 and up. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase.  For more information, please call the Great Swamp OEC, 973.635.6629.

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New Jersey Monthly - Jersey Choice 2012

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