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Campers to display primitive living

September 28, 2012
By Casey Houser - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

The primitive campground exhibit at the Mountain State Forest Festival has remained relatively unchanged for more than 20 years.

Bill Ross has participated in the event since the beginning and says the campers try to keep the scene as realistic as possible.

"We're just trying to portray life as it was before 1840," said Ross.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain file photo
Forest Festival attendees stand outside a tent at the primitive campers exhibit. The campers will be on the lower front field of Davis &?Elkins College Wednesday through Saturday.

This year, the exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Oct. 5, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 6.

The mid-1800s was a time when many things were still made in the home, including clothing. Men's clothing was largely made from cotton and wool. Full-length slacks were popular and longer jackets were a style of the times. For the working man, a set of heavy overalls could cover the body from ankle to shoulder. For women, dresses were often loosely flowing. A belt, tied around the midriff, accentuated the natural curve of the waist.

Campers were often hunters and could be seen wearing buck skins and clothing that was heavy, to protect against the elements. Rough, outdoor clothing is what many campers wear during the festival.

Fact Box

If you go

What: Primitive Campers Exhibit

When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Oct. 5, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 6

Where: Davis &?Elkins front campus

Several skillsets are displayed by the primitive campers, as well. Fire building, outdoor cooking, the building of rifles and blacksmithing are among the trades on show.

"It's show and tell," Ross said, adding that each camper dresses and portrays the lifestyle of pre-Civil War days for all the passers-by. "People stop to talk about the event."

Some other campers fulfill the roles of blacksmiths and rifle builders, and the seasoned outdoorsmen act as guides to those who are new.

"Usually, we have 25 or 30 campers," Ross said.

The exhibit is sponsored by Pioneer Insurance.



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