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Rock Ford volunteers will “plant a maypole” to honor our friend and neighbor, Dr. Edward Hand.  Join the fun!  A bagpiper will lead our procession to where we raise the maypole and Rock Ford’s dancers will lead our visitors in traditional maypole dances.  Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day!

The maypole procession and dancing will commence at 10:30, 12:00 and 1:30.

Practiced for generations in countries such as Germany and England, the maypole dance is a spring ritual long known to Western Europeans. Dancing was done around a pole or slender tree garnished with flowers and ribbons.  The maypole was introduced to Edward Hand’s native Ireland by English and Scottish settlers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  In the early 1800’s, an Irish woman gave an account of maypole celebrations which were held “when a number of persons are desirous, for any particular reason, to honour some of their superiors; as for instance, the tenants of an estate for any act of favour shown them by the landlord, or the like…by planting a maypole before his door.”  The dances performed were “really a very pretty sight.”

As a civic leader, Ireland native Dr. Edward Hand was known to be compassionate and sensitive to the needs of Lancaster’s poor, and he treated many patients without charge.  He was among the community leaders calling for “an act to provide for the erection of houses for the employment and support of the Poor in Counties of Chester and Lancaster.”   The act required the election of six reputable citizens to serve as directors, and Hand was among those elected. The resulting Lancaster Almshouse and Hospital was built of stone and still stands.

Image: A painting circa 1750 in Elmbridge Museum, Weybridge, May Pole Dancing

A Rock Ford docent in period costume will read a story of Early America to children gathered on the porch of the mansion. Following the story, children will participate in a fun activity. A light snack and beverage will be served.

Children must be accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult.

The suggested age range for Stories on the Porch is preschool through 5th grade, but all are welcome.

Free of charge, but voluntary donations are greatly appreciated.  

Celebrate the arrival of Spring at Rock Ford’s annual May Fair Celebration with a variety of craftsmen and vendors, 18th century entertainments, and dancing around the Maypole! All outdoor activities are free and open to the public and also weather permitting.

Guided tours of the mansion will be on every half hour from 10 am until 3 pm. There is an admission charge to tour the mansion. No reservations required.

$8 Adults
$7 Seniors (65+)
$6 Children 6 to 12
Free for children under 5

 

Chart a course for fun as you set sail to Harbor Town to experiment with boatyard basics. Participation is FREE with regular admission to Hands-on House. All activities are held outdoors in our play garden. All programs are designed for adults and children to experience together. Drop in anytime during the scheduled time. No pre-registration required. Please note: These outdoor programs may be cancelled due to weather.

Ages: 2-10 years with adult

Cost: FREE with regular admission to Hands-on House

2:00-4:00pm (Drop-In) on each day

Walk on the wild side as you use the field tools in your backpack to examine some of the crawling, flying and buzzing insects that call our grassy meadow home.

Participation is FREE with regular admission to Hands-on House. All activities are held outdoors in our play garden. All programs are designed for adults and children to experience together. Drop in anytime during the scheduled time. No pre-registration required. Please note: These outdoor programs may be cancelled due to weather.

Event occurs at 2pm-4pm each day

Chart a course for fun as you set sail to Harbor Town to experiment with boatyard basics. Participation is FREE with regular admission to Hands-on House. All activities are held outdoors in our play garden. All programs are designed for adults and children to experience together. Drop in anytime during the scheduled time. No pre-registration required. Please note: These outdoor programs may be cancelled due to weather.

Ages: 2-10 years with adult

Cost: FREE with regular admission to Hands-on House

2:00-4:00pm (Drop-In) on both days