Participants worked a cider press, watched a magician and had a fall color tour on a wagon pulled by horses.
An Ionia man in ceremonial dress talked about Indian lore in front of his teepee. Children decorated pumpkins and tried to win sweets in a cakewalk.
“This is our third year doing the fall festival,” said Diane Edward Cole, president of the Pigeon Creek Schoolhouse Preservation Society. “Every year it’s turned out beautiful.”
Funds raised in previous years were used to put in a basement and electricity this year, Edward Cole said.
Now that they have electricity, they can concentrate on restoring the interior of the circa 1878 schoolhouse.
Gordon and Carol DeVries of Holland smiled as they watched children dump apples into the vat and try to turn the handle on the cider press.
“We come up and do this for the schoolhouse,” Gordon said. “It gets the kids involved. They can see food comes from something.”
Once the pressing was done, the children were given a sample of the fresh apple juice they made using a mixture of honeycrisp, red and yellow delicious, galas and a few other varieties, the owner said.
Sisters Ruth Novak and Marilyn Tiles volunteered at a couple of the market booths.
The former Zelenka girls attended the school in their elementary years.
“It looks just like it did then,” Tiles said. “this is wonderful.”
“They say you can never go back, but in some ways it kind of brings back some memories,” Novak said.
The school quit operations in 1961 and the building was later moved to a nearby Pierce Street property owned by Lester Fuite.
In 2001, Fuite’s widow, Helen, died, and neighbor Edward began talks on what could be done to preserve schoolhouse.
The Pigeon Creek Schoolhouse Preservation Society was created in 2002. In 2006 the non-profit group accepted the donation of the schoolhouse and the parcel of land where it originally sat.
The school was moved back to its original location in December of 2007.
A new belfry with the school’s original bell was installed on top of the schoolhouse on Aug. 13, 2009.
Edward Cole said there is still a long list of projects to be done.
Anyone interested in volunteering, or donating to the schoolhouse may call 844-2975.