Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Family Fun Day At Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

By Chris Collins


In past years, volunteer Sara Durflinger has helped children feed the birds in an activity designed to catch their attention during Family Fun Day at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

At this year's event, scheduled annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Durflinger led kids through an activity that would later feed themselves - and provide their families with a delicious and healthful recipe for making use of leftover Thanksgiving ham.

"It's fun to try new and different things," Durflinger said between visitors to her station, one of several positioned throughout the Interpretive Center Friday.

Durflinger, who's been volunteering for Family Fun Day for the past four or five years, said that bird feeders, featuring pine cones or rice cakes slathered with peanut butter, have always been a popular - but messy - activity during Family Fun Day.

"We've succeeded in making a mess with this, too," she said, referring to bowls of dried beans and spices that escaped their containers and found their way to the tabletop while the children scooped out quantities to layer in cup-sized jars Friday.

The colorful soup ingredients included two scoops each of dried green split peas, pinto beans, lentils, black beans, red kidney beans, pearl barley and black-eyed peas. Garlic powder, pepper, onion and chili powder were also part of the mix.

The prospective cooks were given the choice of several different swatches of fabric to put atop their jar lids before securing them with ribbon. Loops of twine were threaded through small recipe cards and then attached to the jars, providing instructions on how to complete the soup upon return home (or, in some cases, to Grandma's house).

To prepare the soup, families were directed to add 4 cups of water to the dried soup mix along with two carrots, two stalks of celery and one-half cup of chopped ham.

Durflinger said the recipe was a hit.

"There's something to do with the ham," she said. "People are excited for something to do with the ham."

Gypsy Burks, the Trail Center's exhibits specialist, led families through a station where they attached stickers to white cardboard squares to create quilt blocks.

Burks' activity complemented the quilt exhibit that closed Sunday in the Center's Flagstaff Gallery. The display, titled "Enduring Patterns: A Quilted Heritage," showed "the connection between art and purpose."

Linda Cyr led her 18-month-old son Colton, her 3-year-old daughter McKaleigh, and her 3-year-old niece, Jill Taylor, through the quilt display Friday after issuing this warning: "The rule about this one is don't touch the quilts."

Cyr and her family are Baker City residents. Her niece and her family were visiting for the holiday weekend from Bozeman, Mont.

The group was happy to participate in Friday's special day for families, Cyr said.

"We wanted to do something to keep the kids entertained."

The two 3-year-olds parked themselves at a table in the gallery where visitors could piece vinyl squares together to get a feel for the creative process of quilting.

Other activities for the day, which drew several generations of family members, included a station for making beaded jewelry and one for storytelling. Family movies also were shown in the Leo Adler Theater.