Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival returns to Paul Smith’s VIC

PAUL SMITHS – Butcher a chicken, cultivate some mushrooms and make your own soap. These are just a few of the skills you’ll learn at the 2013 Adirondack Rural Skills & Homesteading Festival at the Paul Smith’s College VIC.

The festival, which kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday, is a daylong event that focuses on the growing homesteading movement. And while many of the skills you’ll learn at these workshops are a throwback to an earlier era, they offer benefits for modern lifestyles.

The event, now in its second year, is one of hundreds happening across the country as part of International Homesteading Education Month, sponsored by Mother Earth News and Grit magazine. Followers of the movement cite varying reasons for getting involved: Some appreciate the environmental benefits of a back-to-the-earth mentality, and others appreciate the savings that comes from providing one’s own food.

More than 800 people came to last year’s event at the VIC. This year, guests will find activities such as the 5K Homesteaders’ Challenge, a relay race that pits participants against each other in different skills, including fire building and chicken herding. The featured presenter at the 2013 festival is the Modern Times Theater group, who will perform skits related to “the myth of progress.”

Paul Smith’s College faculty, staff and students, as well as representatives of area organizations, will offer a series of lectures and hands-on workshops throughout the day. More than three dozen sessions will be held, including a section on using draft horses in the field, butter making, maple production and gardening workshops.

Additionally, the Paul Smith’s College woodsmen’s team will stage an exhibition, the Adirondack Farmers’ Market will be open. Celia Evans, Kary Johnson and Curt Stager will perform music, as well.

The event will run from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.

The cost is $5 per person or $10 per carload.

For more information, visit