Tribute to Monreoville’s rural past: Historical society hosts successful Heritage Day Festival

Monroeville Historical Society hosted the Heritage Day Festival on Oct. 1. Despite the overcast skies and scattered rain, spirits were high during the “tribute to Monreoville’s rural past.”

Tents were added throughout the property to house crafting activities and vendors. Entering the event, guests were invited to stop at a table and view different artifacts on display. Children were able to paint pumpkins, build scarecrows and ride horses. The McGinley House and McCully Log House were both equipped with roaring fires and open for self-guided tours.

“Everything is working out with the rain,” said Joe Ventresca, chair of the event and Monroeville Historical Society’s wedding coordinator. “We are muddling through, and it is working out great. I have to thank all of the volunteers. There are many volunteers that helped put this all together.”

Re-enactors were scattered throughout the McGinley House and spoke to guests as they made their way through the tour. Tracy Stone sat in the parlor room, dressed in traditional pioneer attire as she sewed different colored yarns. Ventresca dressed as a town squire and made announcements from a parchment scroll throughout the event.

Each room of the house had different themes featuring artifacts from early farming days. One room downstairs was dedicated to displaying glassware, jewelry and trinkets. The room next door featured arrowheads, clothing, photos and signs from the municipality’s early days.

The upstairs bedrooms were set up for viewing as well. One room was set up to showcase antique dresses dating back to the 1800s. The next room was filled with toys and doll houses including a doll collection featuring toys from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

“Upstairs there’s a doll room, and it’s very unique,” ​​said Ventresca.

The kitchen was filled with rising bread dough to be baked in the stone oven in the backyard. Slices were offered to guests fresh out of the oven and paired with freshly churned butter. Potatoes were wrapped in foil and placed in an iron kettle over the fire to cook.

Due to an incident before the event, the original catering plan fell through. Members of the historical society took it upon themselves to make the festival more immersive by cooking food the way the original residents had.

“We apologize because the food did not come because there was an accident,” Ventresca said. “The gentleman was rushed to the hospital. We do have potatoes for sale, cider and bread.”

Volunteers in the McCully Log House handed out hot apple cider to guests passing through. People were able to tour the second floor and see a traditional layout of an early farming day cabin. Just to the right of the log house, a shed was filled with labeled farming implements.

Marilyn Backus and Janet DeCecco hosted a tent for the Garden Club of Monroeville where children could landscape their own miniature log houses. Supplies featured small plastic plants matching the real foliage that grows on the historical house property. Different types of pebbles, rocks and figurines were set out for guests to personalize their landscapes.

Festa Farms’ owner and beekeeper, Joe Festa, also was hosting a tent. He brought a box of bees for guests to view through the glass. Honey, beeswax and bottles of apple cider were displayed on the table for purchase.

Guests were able to cross the street to visit two horses, Muffin and Natasha from Victory Stables. Children of all ages learned about the horses and enjoyed rides around the parking lot.

“I’m most excited about the horses,” said Ventresca. “We got a lot of attention last year for the horses, and I’m glad that they were able to make it despite the rain.”

The day was filled with family-friendly activities. Every guest was able to learn about Monroeville’s history with the help of artifacts and members of the historical society fielding questions.

For more information regarding the history of the municipality and upcoming events, visit

Hayley Daugherty is a contributing writer.

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