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Frontier Festival takes visitors back in time

Wearing the coonskip cap, Jack Cliett plucks a few notes on the dulcimer under the tutelage of James Vaughn at the Chehaw Frontier Festival. Jack’s brother, Luke, right, and his sister Abi, not pictured, also tried the musical instrument.

Wearing the coonskip cap, Jack Cliett plucks a few notes on the dulcimer under the tutelage of James Vaughn at the Chehaw Frontier Festival. Jack’s brother, Luke, right, and his sister Abi, not pictured, also tried the musical instrument.

ALBANY — Holding a corn snake became a first for Chehaw volunteer Beverly Nichols at Chehaw’s 19th annual Frontier Festival Saturday.

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Beverly Nichols holds Corny the corn snake so that Jordan Richmond can touch him at Chehaw’s Frontier Festival on Saturday. Richmonds reaction? “He is so soft.”

“I had a fear of snakes, but I started volunteering and holding them a couple Saturdays ago,” Nichols said. “Now I don’t fear them and I can help display the snake for the first time at Frontier Festival.”

Nichols calm manner with “Corny” a yellow and black corn snake had plenty of children willing to pat the snake’s slimy body.

Hesitant at first, 7-year-old Jordan Richmond got close to Corny and then stopped. She tried again and patted the sinewy body.

“It is awesome. It is so smooth,” Jordan said. “It is soft. And look at the belly. It really looks like corn.

Keeping an eye on Jordan, her father Darran Richmond enjoyed having the festival as one of Chehaw’s many family activities to attend.

“It is really interesting to see how they used to live in those days,” Richmond said. “It is very educational for the children, and they enjoy it.”

Throughout the frontier camp visitors could see, touch and learn about the days of Daniel Boone and native Americans during the frontier.

Children Jack, Luke and Abi Cliett showed a musical bent when they gravitated to the Cahaba Trader tent. At the tent, dressed in period costumes, James and Mary Vaughn were showing children the dulcimer and a musical instrument named the Bowed Psaltery, which Mary said is as old as the Bible.

The children were visiting their grandparents Linda and Richard Wicker of Americus.

“I just think it is such a good family event,” Linda Wicker said. “The children can come here and learn so many things about history.”

It was also a first visit to Frontier Festival for Albany businessman Stewart Campbell and his 3-year-old son Finn. A strong supporter of Chehaw, Campbell said he loved coming to the park for the zoo, the events such as the Native American Festival and the other attractions. Somehow he missed the Frontier Festival in the past.

“I love it here. Where else can you find something like this in a town this size?” Campbell said. “Today the kids can visit tents and experience blacksmithing and a lot of history at other tents.”