Sunday, May 21, 2000

Event recalls pioneer days

Festival celebrates Erlanger's history

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — Gayle Friedl went to her first pioneer rendezvous in 1977 and was hooked.

        For the last 23 years, the retired Internal Revenue Service worker has traveled to dozens of similar camps across the country, making new friends along the way.

        This weekend, the Union woman found herself in Erlanger's Silverlake Park as part of the Erlanger Pioneer Days Spring Frolic.

        With 14 canvas tents ringing a pioneer village reminiscent of the fur-trade era, the Ole Caintuckee Primitives group evoked images of a simpler time, when Dixie Highway was a buffalo trail and children created their own entertainment.

        “This is what you would have seen if you were a group of pioneers traveling west between 1750 and 1840,” said Jim “Rat” Rademacher of Erlanger as he sat in period dress near an open fire. “We want to re-create that era.”

        Besides the pioneer camp, this weekend's pioneer days celebration features about a dozen booths with everything from handwoven rugs to homemade soap. Community groups also are selling hot dogs, brats, metts and steak sandwiches for hungry visitors.

        Erlanger Pioneer Days Spring Frolic continues 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today at Silverlake Park. Because of limited parking, visitors are asked to take the horse-drawn shuttles from the old railroad depot off Crescent Avenue in Erlanger.

        The purpose of the festival is to focus on Erlanger's history, said Kathy Cahill, coordinator of Erlanger Parks and Recreation.

        “We hope to make this an annual event,” Mrs. Cahill said. “We think it's something that'll be fun for families and schoolchildren.”


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