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Time travel this weekend

September 5, 2013

A demonstrator at the 2012 Good Ole Days event at Laws shows visitors knitting techniques that pioneers used to make scarves, socks and other garments. Photo by Mike Gervais

Laws Railroad Museum is returning to the good ole days of the American West with homebaked pies, 10-gallon hats and good old fashioned hard work this weekend.
The annual end-of-summer Good Ole Days celebration will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday and features live demonstrations of everything from camp cooking with a Dutch oven, to hand washing laundry with a washboard. But the Old West wasn’t all hard work and dust. In a nod to the lighter side of days gone by, Good Ole Days also offers live music, kids games and, of course, self-guided tours of all the historical exhibits at Laws Railroad Museum.
According to event organizer Susan Cullen, Laws will be celebrating the grand opening of its new exhibit, a machine shop in the southeast corner of the museum that is now home to large pieces of mechanical farm equipment. During Good Ole Days, Laws volunteers will be manning the Machine Shop, as well as several other displays at the museum, and answering questions about the use and care of some of the historic equipment housed at Laws.
Volunteers will also be offering rides on “Ole Smoky,” one of the museum’s two working diesel-powered locomotives.
But, according to Cullen, the real fun at Good Ole Days revolves around nearly a dozen working demonstrations of how Owens Valley pioneers lived their daily lives.
This year, Laws will be home to domestic demonstrations that include cooking over a fire, beating rugs before the days of vacuums, quilting and weaving.
This year’s event will also include a quilt display with examples of quilt-work from the past 100-plus years.
On the less domestic side, Cullen said volunteers will be offering demonstrations of wood-working and the use of a cross-cut saw. She explained that the U.S. Forest Service and CalFire team up each year to offer the cross-cut saw demonstration, and will allow visitors to make their own cuts. Those who are persistent enough to saw through the demonstration log can then have Forest Service staff brand their piece of wood, creating a keepsake of the event.
“There are lots of opportunities for hands-on experiences for the youngsters,” Cullen said, explaining that many of the volunteer demonstrators have projects Good Ole Days visitors can help with.
Bishop’s Model A Club will also be in attendance with a number of antique Fords on display.
In the early afternoon, volunteers will organize a series of old-time kids games from the days before televisions and video games.
In past years, games have included egg/balloon tosses, costume relay races and more.
According to Cullen, one of the most popular features for younger Good Ole Days visitors is the Bishop Volunteer Fire Department’s kids games, which often include an opportunity for visitors to handle some firefighting equipment.
For adults, Cullen said one of the most popular attractions at Good Ole Days is the homebaked pie auctions (both silent and live) featuring a variety of flavors supplied by some of Inyo and Mono’s best bakers.
The pie auction is also one of the most successful fundraisers for the museum each year, so Cullen said she would encourage everyone to at least stop in and see if their favorite flavor is available.
Serving food at this year’s events will be the Bishop Union High School Baseball Team, with tri-tip sandwiches, Rudy’s Madd Dogs and the Girl Scouts root beer float booth. Cullen said that anyone who brings canned food donations for local food pantries will receive 50 cents off their root beer float.
Live music will be provided by the Bishop Community Band in the morning and Rumbalaya in the evening.
Residents are encouraged to gather their lawn chairs and picnic blankets and head out to Laws between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the festivities.

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