By Sue Moore
A beautiful handmade rocking horse will be featured in a raffle at the Vicksburg Historical Society’s annual Harvest Festival. It takes place on Sunday, September 29 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on the grounds of the Historic Village.
The creator is Glen Blinn, who serves as a docent for the garage in the Historic Village. He is a crafty guy who delights visitors with his stories about gasoline engines as they tour the building. He has grown fond of the Model A that is a big feature of the garage display, which takes people from the horse and buggy days of transportation to the 1920s-era gas station.
He conceived and built the rocking horse and donated it to the Historical Society to raffle because he wanted to donate money to refinish the interior of the Model A. “The inside has greatly deteriorated over the years. I love to tell people who ask if I can drive it, that I could but I don’t have a key. It needs to get out on the road with a nice new updated interior because the outside is in perfect shape,” he explained.
The rocking horse fits right in with the agricultural theme of the Harvest Festival, said Charlie Church, this year’s chairman of the event. “We will have lots of activities for children, food to eat on the grounds, a pie baking contest, a pumpkin decorating contest, a sawmill demonstration and lots of vendors displaying their fall wares,” he said.
Blinn, in his fourth year as a volunteer at the Historic Village, spent his career as a science teacher in the Harper Creek schools, retiring in 1990. The first day he volunteered he was assigned to the garage to meet people. “What do you say to them?” he asked April Bryan about his duties. “I didn’t get much of an answer so that night I researched the subject online and had a spiel ready to go. Ted Vliek, former president of the Society, came in to listen and right away I was assigned to talk at the Harvest Festival.“
Because Blinn loves to fix and make things, he has been a frequent contributor to the displays in the Historic Village. He and his wife, Carla, a member of the Stafinski family in Vicksburg, had been living in Battle Creek for many years. They moved to her home town, where she opened a quilt and craft shop next to the Munn Agency called the Loose Goose.
“I had a pattern for the rocking horse but modified it a lot. The mane is made of macramé to resemble horse hair. I had to undo it and brush it out with a wire brush, which took hours. That’s the reason I would never make another rocking horse,” Blinn exclaimed.
“I actually made two rocking horses, one for my two grandsons in Arizona and this one to raise money for the raffle. They love to ride it and their parents send pictures of them to me.” Tickets will be for sale at the Harvest Festival for $5 each or $20 for six, at the Church Agency and the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market on Fridays.
Blinn also volunteers his time in the winter with the Salvation Army. He starts to assemble gift baskets in October. “It’s a humbling experience. I often think my life isn’t that bad no matter what I’ve experienced after seeing the children’s reaction upon receiving the baskets at Christmas time,” he said.