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Historic farm to hold Mule Day celebration
The warehouse in the background is one of the many original buildings at the Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm near Jefferson. - photo by Tom Reed

Mule Day

What: Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm Mule Day  celebration

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: 2355 Ethridge Road, Jefferson

Cost: Free for youth and $5 for ages 18 and older

Contact: 706-367-2949

Area visitors and residents will have the opportunity to take in more than 200 years worth of history this weekend.

On Saturday, the Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm will host its Mule Day celebration.

During the event, visitors will be able to see first hand how a farm and various industries worked in the early 1900s. At the event, which will be held on 150 acres of historic farmland, attendees will be able to view various demonstrations including blacksmithing, basket making and quilting.

The farm was founded in 1792 by Susan Chaisson’s ancestors and, since that time, the land has continued to be a working farm. On site are numerous 100-year-old structures, including a schoolhouse, cotton gin and grist mill.

At Saturday’s event, visitors will be able to see the grist mill, which was built in 1909, in action, as a demonstrator will be on hand to grind fresh cornmeal.

"This is the 11th year that we have held Mule Day, but we have not had one since 2004," said Chaisson.

"(Mule Day) started because we wanted to have an annual event to showcase the original buildings and to share the heritage of the (farm). The Georgia Old Time Plow Club helped with this event by bringing their mules, wagons and the name ‘Mule Day,’ which we have continued to use."

Although the farm has a lot of local significance, it is also nationally relevant. In 1992, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The farm’s historic buildings will be open for tours and barbecue lunches will be on sale during the event, which will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Restored home movies dating back to 1939 will also be shown throughout the day. University of Georgia library staff were able to restore the video using a $11,000 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

"This is an interesting view of Southern farm family life and its placement in time is worthy of scholarly viewing and study," Margie Compton, a UGA archivist, said in a prepared statement.

"There are scenes of working on the farm, both African-Americans and whites, and neighbors assisting with plowing and other work, showing the cooperative nature of farm management."