LEHMAN — Ah, the life of a gentleman farmer.
If you take a guided tour of Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s historic Hayfield House on Sunday, you’ll be able to imagine John Conyngham preparing for his day in an elegant dressing room, joining his wife, Bertha, for a morning meal in their “Chinese breakfast room,” then spending some time with the Clydesdale horses, Sardinian donkeys and Highland cattle he raised.
“Oh, goodness, the farm was his baby. He loved the animals and had pictures of them worked into the architecture of the house. The fireplace is carved with them,” said Megan MacGregor, head librarian at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre, who will lead the tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
With an elegant home surrounded by grazing animals, it sounds as if the Conynghams enjoyed a peaceful, countryside existence here a century ago.
They would probably be astounded to see how their one-time farm will bustle from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, as visitors arrive to see what more than 120 artisans, performers, crafters and food vendors have to offer during the 34th Annual Arts at Hayfield Summer Festival.
“We have an artist who specializes in architectural drawings in black ink and pen, a naturalist who does natural scenes and detailed pieces of ferns and trees who does everything with a Rapidograph (technical pen), which is all dots. His wife does pencil and watercolor scenes appropriate for children’s illustrated books. One woman does floral arrangements in which each flower is made from glue, water and paper, petal by petal,” coordinator Janis Winter said, listing just a few of the participants.
If all the artwork you’ll see inspires you to attempt a creative craft, you can bring your children to the area in front of Hayfield House where volunteer Helen Grebski of Pringle will guide them through the making of yarn dolls.
“They can make and take the dolls,” she said. “They’re the kind of toys I grew up making. You basically wrap the yarn around your fingers or your mom’s fingers or dad’s fingers and shape the arms and decide if you’re going to make a boy or a girl. They look almost like a scarecrow.”
You can also watch crafters demonstrate wheat weaving, wood carving and pottery making.
Other highlights include Frank LittleBear presenting Native American music and dance from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., faculty member Renee Rosier playing bagpipes from 3 to 4 p.m. and faculty member Violet Major presenting an astronomy program in the Friedman Observatory from 11 a.m. to noon. Penn State master gardeners will be available all day to answer gardening questions.
Admission to the Arts at Hayfield Summer Festival is $2.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT