Hagley Museum invites participation in the past


"Winter Life at Hagley" continues next Sunday in the second of two winter programs from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington.

The museum, on the grounds of the original du Pont mills, estate and gardens, is dedicated to preserving the lifestyles of a 19th-century American industrial complex. During winter months Blacksmith Hill, the millworkers community, is normally closed to the public on weekends, but it will be open next Sunday. Visitors can stop at the Gibbons House, home of mill foremen during the mid 19th century. Here you will find interpreters baking a weekend treat in the kitchen's wood-burning stove. Upstairs, children can dress up in period clothing. Visitors can also sit in on lessons at the 1817 schoolhouse, where they will be taught to write with a quill pen and do ciphers on a slate board. Stop at the Henry Clay Mill to see a diorama of industry that existed during the 19th century along the Brandywine River.

Admission is $9.75 for adults; $7.50 for seniors and students; $3.50 for ages 6 to 14; free for under 6. There is also a household ticket available for $26.50. Admission includes entrance to the entire 240-acre Hagley complex. Use the museum entrance off Route 141 in Wilmington. Call (302) 658-2400.

Chocolate festival

If chocolate is your passion, head for Fairfax, Va., next weekend and the second annual Chocolate Lovers Festival.

The highlight of the event is a display by area chefs and chocolatiers who will create works of art made of chocolate. Their entries will be judged on Saturday before they are placed on view at the Courthouse, 4000 Chan Bridge Road, (at the intersection of routes 123 and 236), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $1; free for children. Admission includes a raffle ticket for the winning chocolate entry. A silent auction allows the public to bid on the other edible art.

The Living History Foundation will present re-enactments relating to Fairfax's history both days in the Colonial Court Room. Saturday's re-enactment will be of a Colonial-period wedding followed by a reception and dance, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. On Sunday the group will present a re-enactment of a trial at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Another attraction at the courthouse is the Chocolate Cafe, where visitors can watch chocolate demonstrations while sipping hot chocolate or gourmet coffee. They can also join docent-led tours of the courthouse.

In addition there will be children's activities at the Fairfax City Regional Library and the Fair City Mall and chocolate tastings at Old Town Hall. For information, call (703) 591-2450 or (703) 385-7855.

Winter fun

Ski Liberty in Fairfield, Pa., will hold its 17th annual Winter Carnival on Saturday. The day will be filled with ski competitions and fun activities for all ages, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It serves as a fund-raiser for Ski Liberty's National Ski Patrol, a volunteer group of trained professionals who provide emergency treatment and assistance.

Registration for the ski races begins at 9:30 a.m. Skiers of all ages can compete for prizes, including a mountain bike, ski apparel and ski packages. Races begin with a Challenge Cup at 10:30 a.m. and continue with a Ski Bump Contest, Boarder Bump Races, children's races, a Half-Pipe Competition and a Snow Bunny Contest Race.

Music will be performed on Ski Liberty's deck throughout the afternoon. There are also amusements for children, with games, jugglers and cartoon characters; Ronald McDonald will put in an appearance. Other attractions include a ski-wear fashion show, ice sculpting, hot-air balloon rides and a barbecue. The day concludes with a torchlight parade down the mountain.

Admission and most activities are free. There is, however, an entry fee for some of the races. To reach Ski Liberty take Interstate 795 north to Route 140 west and follow to the Pennsylvania line, where it becomes Route 16 west. Drive for three miles to Route 116 east then turn right and the entrance is three miles, on the right. Call (717) 642-8282.

Carnival in Helvetia

The tiny village of Helvetia, W.Va., will attract tourists Saturday for the celebration of Fasnacht. It is held on the last Saturday before Lent and is a celebration similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Helvetia was founded by Swiss immigrants who settled the land in north-central West Virginia in the 19th century. It was the first district in the state to be place on the National Register of Historic Places and still retains the atmosphere of Switzerland of the 1800s.

Fasnacht begins with a buffet of traditional Swiss food at the Hutte Restaurant around 5:30 p.m. After dinner, revelers wearing masks and carrying candlelighted Swiss lanterns join a parade through the village. Festivities continue at the Helvetia Community Hall with dancing and more feasting from 8 p.m. to midnight. An effigy of Old Man Winter hangs in the hall and at midnight the effigy is cut down, taken outside and set ablaze on a bonfire. Admission, which includes entertainment and finger food, is $3 for adults; $2 for ages 6 to 12; free for under 6. The Swiss buffet costs $10 for adults; $5 for ages 6 to 10; free for under 6. Reservations are required.

Take Interstate 70 to Hancock; Interstate 68 to Morgantown, W.Va;, Interstate 79 to Buckhannon; Route 20 to French Creek; and Route 46 to Helvetia. Call (304) 924-6435.

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