Horne Creek event falls victim to budget cuts

First Posted: 6/20/2009

PINNACLE Ironically, while Horne Creek Living Historical Farm is breaking in a new visitors center built with $500,000 in state funding, an ice cream social scheduled there Saturday had to be canceled due to budget cuts.
Visitors journeyed to the North Carolina historic site on Hauser Road for the event, some from other parts of the state, and were disappointed to learn that news from staff members at the farm upon arriving.
Last summer, the annual gathering attracted 650 visitors who watched farm personnel and volunteers produce ice cream the old-fashioned way with a hand-cranked freezer.
Old-time music also was to be part of Saturdays activities, notice of which remained posted on a North Carolina State Historic Sites Web page despite the cancellation resulting from officials in Raleigh struggling with a multibillion-dollar deficit.
That oversight seemed to take staff members at the farm by surprise, who could only apologize to disappointed visitors as they arrived to find no music much less no ice cream on a day tailor-made for a cold treat.
Yet many still took advantage of the occasion to tour the site that gives the public an idea of what agriculture was like in the early 1900s. Yearly attendance has averaged about 30,000 at the old Hauser family farm that has become one of the areas top tourism destinations.
Despite Saturdays cancellation, Rickie Jessup, an interpreter for the various exhibits there, said the biggest event of the year at Horne Creek, a corn-shucking set for Oct. 17, will still be held as planned. It also will feature such activities as cider making and traditional music.

Visitors Center A Plus
Despite no ice cream social Saturday, the public got a chance to check out a sparkling new 2,400-square-foot visitors center located at the farms entrance. Luckily, the state Legislature had allocated $500,000 to construct the facility in 2008 before the budget crunch hit.
The four-member farm staff has begun using the facility only recently.
Actually, we started moving in about three weeks ago, said Dale Jessup, another interpreter who was manning a counter at an orientation and sales area inside the center Saturday where visitors were buying souvenirs.
The interior contains only a few farm-related displays at present, with Rickie Jessup saying that more exhibits and programs will be added in the coming days.
Its going to provide us a facility where we can carry out educational programs, cultural and history programs for the public, especially the kids, he said.
Having the visitors center will allow the farm to better plan and accommodate various activities, Jessup said. Weve been working out of a trailer since we became a historic site in 1989, for the most part, he said of a modular unit that the center replaced.
The new eight-room facility is the first modern public building added on the property since the farm operations began in 1987. Ground was broken for the center last November.
Although it is new, the structure is constructed primarily of pine and Western cedar siding, giving it a rustic look that blends in with the surroundings. In addition to public restrooms, the center contains staff offices.
Were real tickled with it, Dale Jessup said. Its just so much more room than we ever had before.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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