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McFarland Living History Ranch hosts Kite Day

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Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013 4:46 pm

Children and adults alike played with their kites in the backdrop of the McFarland Living History Ranch on Sunday. More than 200 people showed up to the fifth annual kite-flying day, sponsored by the Galt Area Historical Society.

“I’d say there were more than 20-25 kites up at a time,” said Nancy Stigelmayer, a historical society volunteer.

Master kiter Pete Sheracy shared his handcrafted kites, one of which looked like an actual Canadian goose when it was up in the air.

“We had birds come by and almost attacked the goose,” Stigelmayer said.

Some people brought their own kites, while others made kites in a shed on the McFarland Ranch property.

“This is great,” a first-time kite flier said. “First we made the kites — that’s an engineering feat in itself.”

If visitors didn’t bring kites or make their own, they could borrow one from the historical society. The so-called “bunk house” stored a bunch of kites.

Visitors were allowed to tour the restored McFarland House, which Galt pioneer John McFarland constructed from 1863 until it was completed in 1865. McFarland, who mapped out the older part of Galt, lived in the bunkhouse while he built his two-story house on Orr Road, about halfway between Galt and Thornton. Later, cowboys working at the ranch lived in the bunk house, said Ron Jacobson, who oversees the restoration and operations of McFarland Ranch.

The ranch was originally 3,800 acres in the 19th century. The historical society began the restoration project in 1998.

Groups of fourth-grade students nailed the planks of redwood flooring that was recycled from the old Mokelumne River bridge connecting the Cosumnes River Preserve and the town of Thornton.

Children from Lodi, Galt, Oak View, Arcohe, Sacramento Folsom and even Fremont have taken field trips to the living history ranch, said Jacobson, who also chaired kite day with historical society member Earl Frey.

The kite flying event wasn’t a fundraiser for the historical society. Their goal for kite day was to break even with their hot dog sales, Stigelmayer said. Fore more information on McFarland Ranch, visit www.mcfarlandranch.org/index.htm.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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