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June 14, 2021

Germanfest: A family-friendly event

Click here to view more photos from Germanfest.

By Shavonne Walker

GRANITE QUARRY — Joy Walter had gone to a German restaurant in Asheville with her children. When they heard about Germanfest in Granite Quarry, they decided to learn more about the people who settled in Rowan County more than 250 years ago.

Walter, along with sons, J.D., 10, and Tucker, 11, attended the Saturday event that also included her 14-year-old daughter, Adyson “Ady” who volunteered.

“It sparked an interest,” Walter said.

The children enjoyed petting the goats and period costumes worn by volunteers. J.D. said he enjoyed the goats that sat inside a short fence off to the side of the Old Stone House. The goats belonged to Rachel Mowery of Rustic Edge Soaps who uses the milk to make soaps. She had items on display and showed attendees how she makes her soap.

Tommy Taylor and Curtis Starnes have been friends for more than 40 years and wanted to experience Germanfest in Granite Quarry together for the first time. Starnes saw the event flier while taking his son for a violin lesson. He was most interested in how people lived “back in the day” and the foods they ate.

“I’ve always liked the history of this house. The food is the best part,” Taylor said.

Donna Brown Farmer, who is a descendant of the Braun family who lived in the Old Stone House, brought her children for years and now attends with her grandchildren.

‘It’s amazing to have a lot of the history for them to see,” she said of her grandchildren.

Entertainment for the event included members of the Windsong Recorder Ensemble, who played a number of songs inside the house.

“We enjoy the opportunity to perform. The acoustics are incredible,” said Gwenn Sembroski.

“It’s a good venue. It’s historical. We live in Rowan County,” said ensemble member Vicki Williams.

Both women make up two of a 12-member ensemble, with about four to five regular members.

It was the first time at Germanfest for Mandy Lockard, her husband, Heath, and their children Brook, 9, and Colton, 7. Mandy has a longtime friend from Germany who lived with her family as a foreign exchange student in high school. He’d just sent her pictures celebrating Oktoberfest. Mandy read about Germanfest on Facebook and decided it was a good community fall event to attend.

Diane Folk, a teacher, and Amy Pruitt, director of Horizon’s Unlimited, paid it forward and volunteered Saturday by displaying books and wooden toys that would’ve been around centuries ago.

Folk said the interactive center used the Old Stone House in September in partnership for an eighth-grade program. The two were reading the more tame Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

Members of the Rowan County Beekeepers Association were also on hand to talk about the benefits of local honey, how honey bees pollinate and how the honey and wax could be used to make candles, lotions and soaps.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.



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