Ames Mansion celebrates 100th
Festival offers tours, 1900s entertainment
Barbershop quartets, giant flags, brass bands, and baseball played without gloves will flavor a day-long festival this weekend celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Ames Mansion in Borderland State Park.
The 20-room, 22,000-square-foot mansion was built 100 years ago for the politically and academically prominent Ames family. The Gilded Age home and its 1,700-acre estate were acquired by the state in 1969.
The 300-member Friends of Borderland have been preparing the centennial for a year, said committee cochairman Ken Wood, of Easton.
“All this is tying the families and the communities together,’’ Wood said. The committee’s 40 volunteers come from Easton, Canton, Foxborough, Mansfield, Sharon, and Stoughton.
The local Rotary and Lions clubs will join in providing refreshments, their first such collaboration, Wood said.
“The festival is attuned to the early 1900s,’’ he said. “It should be a nice day.’’
Along with the day’s patriotic music, pony rides, and the old-fashioned “field day’’ events, the celebration Saturday will have some contemporary activities such as balloon rides in the RE/MAX hot air balloon beginning at 9 a.m. A small donation will be charged for the balloon rides; all other activities are free.
Morning events include pony rides, hay rides, family and children’s field events, a magic show, and period crooning by the barbershop quartet Sounds of Concord. The Quintessential Brass band will perform on the main stage at 11 a.m.
At 1:30 p.m., the day’s patriotic highlight will be the unfurling of five giant American flags, each of which requires 50 people to hold it for full effect. “If you haven’t seen it, it’s amazing,’’ said Wood.
“It’s a patriotic salute to all veterans and to the men and women of the American armed forces,’’ said Dave Clifton of Sharon, who cochaired the event committee.
A Dixieland band performs at 3 p.m.
The classic old-time baseball game will be played by two traveling teams practiced in the art of playing the game without gloves, the way America’s pastime was first played in grassy fields and on town commons.
Free tours of the Ames Mansion will be offered from 1:15 to 5:45 p.m. The mansion was the home of Oakes Ames, son of state governor Oliver Ames, who was a Harvard professor and an academic figure famed in his own right for his seven-volume study of orchids. His wife, Blanche, a well-known suffragist and cartoonist, designed the house.
The event is free to the public, but visitors are asked to bring a donation of food for the Easton Food Pantry.
Planners are expecting an attendance of up to 5,000.
Robert Knox can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org.