The second Saturday in November brings Sugar Day to Kent Plantation House once again. This year’s Festival, November 13th from 9:00am – 5:00pm, promises to be filled with food, traditional crafts, music and fun for all ages with the scent of cooking syrup filling the air. Admission to the grounds for the day will cost $5.00 per person and children ten and under will be free.
Live music will be featured throughout the day. Headlining the musical entertainment will be Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. They will be playing their special form of Zydeco music at 11:00am and again at 1:00pm. At 9:30am and at 12:00pm, there will be a presentation of Native American dancing and at 10:30am, a return performance by the Nutcracker Dancers.
Craft demonstrations from throughout Louisiana will include basket making, woodworking, duck carving, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, quilting, cornhusk crafts, and flint napping. Some of the demonstrators will be selling their crafts and the Kent House Gift Shop will be open featuring historic and regional books, cards, toys, syrup, jams and jellies, and a variety of other items. Costumed docents will be churning butter, making soap and candles, and cooking in the open-hearth kitchen.
Special children’s activities, some traditional and some new, will be offered throughout the day. Tours of the House will be offered free of charge, but admission tickets will be necessary. Visitors will also be able to choose from among gumbo, open-hearth soup and cornbread, barbeque sandwiches and hamburgers and hot dogs. Desserts will be delicious homemade cakes and cookies.
To condense the long open-kettle sugar making process, the demonstration at Kent House begins with cane juice already reduced to syrup. Cane syrup from David Stewart of Alma Plantation in Lakeland, Louisiana will fill ‘la batterie’, the fourth and smallest of the traditional kettles in which the sugar cooking was finished. Volunteers will spend the day minding the fire and stirring the syrup.
Commercial sugar making in Louisiana dates officially to 1795. Though primarily a cotton plantation in its heyday, Kent Plantation grew and processed some sugarcane for its own use. The re-creation of today’s 1840s-style open kettle sugar mill at Kent House dates to 1994. A ten-year project, the Kent House sugar mill began with the 1982 donation of sugar kettles from Augusta Plantation by descendants of Dr. William Haas, and a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Franklin H. Mikell.
Kent Plantation House, the oldest standing structure in Central Louisiana, dates back almost as far as commercial sugar production in Louisiana. Its mission as a historic site and museum is to interpret the history of Central Louisiana between 1795 and 1855. For more information about Kent Plantation House Sugar Day 2010, please call (318) 487-5998 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.