On Saturday, residents of Stonyford observed the summer solstice with a Midsummer Festival that marked the dedication of a new landmark for the town. Two new steel signs that weigh approximately 175 pounds were donated to mark entry at both ends of the town. The town has been without a sign since it was stolen during last year’s rodeo.
“We’re hoping to do this every single year,” said Johnny Sanchinelli-Huttman, president of the Stonyrose Heritage Society. “But this year is special because we’re dedicating the new signs for the town. ”
Residents and visitors talked while having local food, and perused vendors’ wares. Local artists, including Dave Wills and Todd Kelly, sold items made out of horseshoes. Sonita Walters sold handmade jewelry and paintings, and Joyce Bruckner-Abbott sold collectables. A cart with spiced mango drinks offered refreshment from the warm day while the smells of freshly grilled meat from El Taco Nazo filled the air.
Meanwhile, Tyler Kirby, 14 and Taylor Kirby, 13 scooped up about 60 servings of homemade ice cream for donations.
“I loved watching (my children) serve the customers,” said Chandra Kirby. “That’s teaching them skill right there.”
Judy Adams said that the pineapple ice cream was her favorite part.
“We really appreciate what Stonyford does for us,” said Kelly, who missed out on an opportunity to sell his art due to the cancellation of Fort Bragg Paul Bunyan Days. Wills added, “Stonyford has been gracious to us. We’re so close to home and we always do well here. I think it has to do with what we have, because it’s a horsey area. People are all great, all come and support us every time we show up.”
A donated piece of horseshoe art that read “Welcome” was auctioned off, along with large handmade sugar sculptures.
Inside the Grange, Penne Arbanasin facilitated art projects for children such as painting sun catchers and birdhouses.
“I’m making a butterfly house; they fold their wings up to enter in,” said Korynn Reagan, 9, who intends to hang her project up in the front yard. “I like butterflies. I try to catch them but I don’t want to touch their wings so they won’t be able to fly.”
“It definitely was worth coming up here,” said Kirby. “We live in Maxwell but we used to live here so it was good seeing the old faces.”
“This is our first year and I’m amazed,” said local, Debbie Turk. “It’s only going to get better next year.”
Turnout was better than expected, according to Sanchinelli-Huttman.
“This is just a prequel to Founder’s Day, which is going to be in September,” he said. “That one we are going to do in conjunction with the museum. We’re going to have an exhibit at the museum and we’re going to do a tour of the town: the home where John L. Smith lived, the cemetery where he’s buried, where they set up the mill. We’re going to show all the historic pieces and we’re going to encourage people to do things that they did back in the day like churn butter, make candles. It will be fun.” ■