MAYFIELD — Fans of local history are in for a sweet treat this weekend.
The Mayfield Historical Society will hold its 40th annual Strawberry Festival at the Rice Homestead on Saturday, June 10. The free event will run from noon to 4 p.m. and feature museum tours, live music and fruity refreshments.
The Homestead boasts an ever-growing collection of historical treasures, many of which belonged to the original owner and builder of the property, Oliver Rice. Rice was instrumental in the development of the Mayfield area. The town was initially named Riceville after him.
According to Betsy Foster, chair of the Historical Society’s Accessioning and Collection Care Committee, the Strawberry Festival is a way for community members to engage with their shared heritage.
“We give very detailed tours of the house, delving into the history of the Rice family and the community of Riceville,” Foster said. “There are some fascinating artifacts in the home which people really enjoy hearing about.”
Saturday’s tours will highlight some new relics acquired by the Society this spring. These include Rice’s restored saddle bag, which he used during his tenure as the region’s first postmaster, and an 1843 portrait of Rice. Additionally, the Society will debut its summer exhibit entitled “School Days” at the festival; Rice contributed to the growth of the area’s earliest school.
Outside the house, attendees will be invited to explore the gardens and walk the nature trail on the property. Strawberry shortcake with ice cream and lemonade will be offered for a donation of $5 per adult and $3 per child. The Knox Gentlemen will perform live classic rock and country music.
Once the bustling estate of a community leader, the Homestead is now a museum run by Mayfield Historical Society staff. It is also the site of an official New York State Department of Education historical marker.
The museum is a monument to Rice’s life and times. Foster, who is responsible for cataloging physical artifacts and records, described the goal of the Strawberry Festival and all other events at the Rice Homestead.
“These are the people who came from far away and settled here before, during and after the Revolutionary War and created the community that we have now,” Foster said. “We hope that we instill an interest in and a love of our local history, as well as a desire to preserve it.”
In the event of rain, the festival will be held at the Mayfield Presbyterian Church. For more information about the event, community members can call 518-332-0538.