‘Pioneer Christmas’ returns this weekend

Published 4:08 am Friday, December 1, 2017

Mile Branch Settlement is a village of 1800s-era log cabins, a school, a store, a church, and even an outhouse from around the area and moved to the fairgrounds in Franklinton. Mile Branch is only open twice a year, for the Washington Parish Fair in October and for Pioneer Christmas in December, and the latter is this weekend, Dec. 2-3.

The Mile Branch Settlement is known for depicting early pioneer life in rural Louisiana, and its Pioneer Christmas features re-enactors, military demonstrations, and presentations of daily rural pioneer life. The event includes quilt making, spinning, cooking, artifact presentations, and live music of the period.

This year it will get started with a Pioneer Christmas Parade through Franklinton at 10 a.m. on Dec. 2. The parade will begin on Fairground Road, turn left onto Bene Street, turn right on 11th Avenue, take another right on Washington Street, turn right on Main Street, before ending back on Fairground Road.

Also at that time, the Pioneer Christmas at Mile Branch Settlement will open for business. It will be open until 5 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 2, and on Sunday it will be open from noon through 5 p.m. Santa Claus will be on site, and little ones are invited to sit on his knee, tell him their wishes, and to get a picture made.

There will be live entertainment on both days. The Retherford Family will get the music on the cabin porches started at 10:30 a.m., and the Last Chance Bluegrass Band will take over at 11:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, there will be several contests in progress. The Tea Cake Contest judging will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the first-place winner will get $50 cash.

Then, there are the eating contests. The Cotton Candy Eating Contest will begin at noon in the front yard of the King Cabin. After that, the judging will get started for the Sweet Potato Pie Contest. The winner of that competition will also $50 cash.

Back on the porches, Joel Galloway will perform from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and the Magees will start playing and singing at 1:30 p.m.

The front yard of the King Cabin will be the site of a Sack Race at 2 p.m., and Celeste Crowe, with Caroline and Percy Knight will take their turn on a porch at 3 p.m.

Also on Saturday, there will be an Antique Car show by the Fair’s Main Stage.

On Sunday, various church and school choirs will sing.

The re-enactors, and demonstrators will perform at various times on both days. Also on both days there will be a Christmas Celebration in the Commercial Building, and jambalaya dinners will be sold in the Cracklin’ Barn.