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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Portage County Fair offers trip to the past
 

Alexius Wanserski, center left, of Plover waves her arms Saturday while riding on a kiddie roller coaster next to her friend James Worzella at the Portage County Fair in Rosholt. 
 Casey Lake/Central Wisconsin Sunday
from: wausaudailyherald.com
by Brian Kowalski
Sep. 2, 2012
ROSHOLT — Fairs are perfect for 6-year-olds like Gibson Bennett.
But it wasn’t cotton candy, Ferris wheels or stuffed animals that had him enthralled Saturday afternoon. Bennett sat entranced in a one-room schoolhouse, paging through old storybooks and sitting at desks from another era.
The schoolhouse was one of many exhibits in the Malcom Rosholt Pioneer Museum on the grounds of the 86th annual Portage County Fair in Rosholt. The Rosholt fair is the official county fair; an unofficial fair occurs earlier in the year in Amherst.
Bennett’s mother, Destiny Thomas, 24, of Wausau, said she came to the fair’s village when she was young and remembers being just as fascinated as her young son with the museum.
“It’s different reading about these in a book, rather than seeing them in person,” Gibson said. “It’s cool to be able to explain to the kids while they’re looking at it, what the different things are for.”

 
Damian Dulak of Stevens Point threw a 39-mile-an-hour pitch Saturday while pitching in a Portage County Fair game in Rosholt.
Casey Lake/Central Wisconsin Sunday
Thomas explored the schoolhouse Saturday with Bennett, daughter Escence Bennett, 4, and their grandparents, Roger and Jodine Thomas of Wausau.
The museum contains a working sawmill, houses with antiques and clothing more than a century old, and a working blacksmith shop.
The blacksmith shop itself isn’t exactly an antique, so much as the method itself. Shaine Bryant and Josh Nellessen have been blacksmithing for about six years after seeing it done on TV.
The self-taught blacksmiths make items primarily used for decorations: horsehoes, ornamental wall hangings and tools made the traditional way, with fire and a hammer.
“Most of what we sell is stuff for people to spruce up their house with,” Bryant said. “I’ve had people watch me make a product from beginning to end and then buy it right away.”
Bryant and Nellessen demonstrated their trade Saturday, firing metal in a furnace and hammering a piece flat as a small crowd watched.
“It’s nice to have the full-fledged blacksmith shop to work in here; it really draws a crowd,” Bryant said.

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