Pioneer Daze

Ten points if you know what the building in the featured image is located.

Okay okay you win — it IS at the Mennonite Heritage Village. This weekend is probably the very best weekend to visit the MHV in Steinbach, Manitoba.

I’ve read blogs wherein the author has visited the MHV in the middle of the week in the middle of summer, and remarked how nice it would be if the Village had volunteers posted within the various outbuildings to interpret and tell stories. They were always expecting a Village to be bustling with activity and demonstrations.

Well the reality is that the MHV could not be staffed at 100%, all of the time. There just aren’t enough volunteers for that.

Instead, what you need to do, is show up on their very most special of all days — their feature weekends. Namely, Pioneer Days, which is always on August Long Weekend.

These are the days that you’ll find the Mennonite Heritage Village positively bursting at the seams with volunteers dressed in the pioneer garb of the early settlers. You’ll find them baking bread in the outdoor bake oven, and serving up schnetje with jam in the summer kitchen. There’ll be a volunteer stoking the fire and shaping red-hot iron in the blacksmith shop. There’ll be teachers and storytellers at every turn, and in every building. And of course, the windmill will be running at full steam, which I find completely thrilling and also kind of dangerous (when you’re standing on the deck and the wind really takes hold of windmill and lets it fly, it’s a little terrifying).

There will be all kinds of things for the kids to do, from the children’s entertainment to the petting zoo and wagon rides.

In the tent, there will be live music all day, from a bunch of different bands and artists. Sit there and enjoy the sounds while you nibble your heart-shaped waffle from the nearby waffle booth.

They used to butcher pigs at Pioneer Days… but I think they may have stopped that now, due to health regulations.

While you’re there, this is a great day to pick up a bag of freshly-ground whole wheat flour, OR a loaf of freshly-baked bread from the Livery Barn Restaurant.

I should add that it was at Pioneer Days that Andrew and I first heard of Grandma Online, the Mennonite Genealogy Database. We just waltzed into the room labeled “trace your family’s history” (or something like that). There were some older gentlemen in the room, sitting in front of computers, ready to help us find our family trees online. I was so excited when I saw my own family tree! I mean, there are still a lot of blanks on it, but it was quite a revelation to me. It was great to be introduced to Grandma Online at the MHV during Pioneer Days. I highly recommend it!

You know, I actually dreamed about the MHV Pioneer Days the other day. I dreamed that the parking lot was way over-full and we had to park in the overflow. Okay, that’s not a very deep dream I guess. But I just remember thinking and feeling in my dream that it was worth it to park in the overflow and walk a bit more. After all, that’s just what happens when you show up to the MHV during Pioneer Days.

You’ll find a full list of events for this weekend here. (I’m most looking forward to the storytelling from Jac Siemens, and also the helicopter rides!)