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Tentative plans for Aug. 1-2 event for Pioneer Village

Andrea Johnson/MDN The Ward County Historical Society plans for a “soft reopening” on Aug. 1 and 2 at its Pioneer Village near Burlington if weather and the coronavirus permit. Pictured are buildings on the grounds of the museum along U.S. Highway 2.

If all goes well, the Ward County Historical Society will hold a “soft reopening” on Aug. 1 and 2 for its Pioneer Village along U.S. Highway 2 near Burlington.

The event is planned for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 1 and from noon to 5 p.m. on Aug. 2. Board member Dan Caswell said the plans could change if there is bad weather that weekend or if there is an increase in coronavirus cases in the county.

Right now none of the buildings on the Pioneer Village grounds are open to the public, but Caswell said a few of the buildings might be ready for tours by Aug. 1 and 2.

Volunteers and contractors have been working hard to clean the buildings, repair any damage caused by the 2011 Souris River flood and the relocations of museum buildings from the North Dakota State Fairgrounds to Burlington last year, said board president David Leite and board member Sue Bergan.

Leite said more work is planned on the grounds over the next few weeks.

Bergan said people have been driving around the grounds and looking at the outside of the museum buildings and the progress that has been made.

“Everyone is excited,” said Bergan.

The museum includes the original Ward County Courthouse, the Sundre log cabin dating back to the 1890s, a historic Lutheran church, a one room school house, a train depot, a blacksmith shop, the big, white Samuelson house, and the tan Harmon House which will serve as the historical society’s visitor’s center and genealogy center when it opens.

The former Eureka School was moved to the grounds earlier this summer, was split into two buildings and will provide restroom facilities for visitors.

Several of the buildings now have ramps that make them handicapped accessible.

Leite said the historical society is still badly in need of donations and contributions by volunteers. He is also aware that this will be a challenging time for the museum to do fund-raising because of the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus.

They hope to raise funds through good will donations and by renting out space to vendors for a flea market that will be held Aug. 1 and 2 during the “soft reopening.”

Caswell said plans right now for the event include the traditional display of classic cars hosted by the Magic City Antique Car Club. Car aficionados will be able to enter their own cars in the car show.

They also believe people will be interested in selling or purchasing items at a flea market that will be held during the event. People will be able to rent a space for $25. Vendors will need to bring their own tables and items to sell.

In addition, the historical society is accepting donations of items that it will be able to sell at the flea market to raise money for the museum.

Caswell said other vendors and businesses and organizations will also be able to rent space for informational booths for $25.

Board members are not sure right now what food and drink will be available during the event because of health department guidelines. They hope food trucks will be there to sell food to attendees on Aug. 1 and 2.

More information about the Aug. 1 and 2 event can be found at www.wardcountyhistoricalsociety.com or on the group’s Facebook page.

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