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32th Annual Western Heritage Day to Bring Several Thousand School Children to the HSU Campus

32th Annual Western Heritage Day to Bring Several Thousand School Children to the HSU Campus

By Janlyn Thaxton

 

 

 

Thousands of elementary school children from across the Big Country will visit the Hardin-Simmons University campus during the Western Heritage Day celebration on Thursday, April 18, 2013. Western Heritage Day is when HSU faculty and staff members, as well as students, show up dressed in western duds to help reconstruct scenes from the late 1800s, when Abilene, Texas, was in its infancy. Faculty, students, and staff will instruct little cowboys and cowgirls as they rope “steers,” pump water from authentic hand pumps, and play old-time games. They will also meet the famed HSU Six White Horses. An old-time brush arbor will be constructed to conduct authentic pioneer church services. As you might expect, students in the Logsdon Seminary play the role of preacher. {{more}} Children will see farrier John Curtis shod the iconic White Horses and students in the Irvin School of Education will share stories of western tales and folklore with the children. HSU students studying theatre arts will perform old-time western melodramas, and students in the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics will man the branding irons, stamping out HSU brands for the children to take home with them. Children can also stop by to have their faces painted by HSU students studying speech and language pathology. University students use the opportunity to practice some of the listening skills they are learning in class as chat with children. Each year everyone seems to enjoy the Cowboy beans and biscuits cooked at the chuck wagon, and children will get to see the longhorns from Fort Griffin and see buckskin-clad frontiersmen. Event coordinator Leianne McMillan says she estimates anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 children from Abilene and surrounding communities will attend the event. Invitations go out to all of the elementary schools in the Region 14 service area, which brings children from as far away as Coahoma to the event. McMillan says one of the things she thinks is fascinating is that many teachers build projects and a portion of their curriculum around the event. “Students come in paper vests and other costumes they have created in class in preparation for the day,” says McMillan. “We help finish off their costume and set the stage of being part of the Old West by pinning each child with an Honorary Sheriff’s Posse badge as they step off of their bus.” May Farms will bring livestock so visitors can see for themselves how sheep are sheared and how the wool is woven into a fabric. McMillan says, “A lot of the school children often comment that they have never seen horses or longhorns up close prior to their visit to Western Heritage Day.” The community is invited to the annual free event to be held on the lawn surrounding the Hardin-Simmons University pond. The event starts around 8:30 a.m. and goes until around 3 p.m. Western Heritage Day is made possible by the Guy Caldwell Endowment for Western Heritage and the Lee and Lou C. Evans Western Heritage Endowment.