When Tom and I agreed to return to Kings Mountain, we knew that we would be going back during their busiest time. The six weeks from the Anniversary weekend to Veterans Day weekend are crazy with school kids, leaf-peepers, and people coming for the two special weekends. The temperatures are moderate during this period so lots of people like to hike. Most Saturdays have over 700 visitors which keeps the small staff very busy.
The Veterans Day Encampment marks the end of this extremely busy time. The leaves are done and the temperatures drop. In fact, the Veterans Day Encampment is the last special event at Kings Mountain until the encampments start up again in April.
Tom and I especially enjoyed the Veterans Day Encampment because we were able to participate in the living history. We finally had enough staff that I could leave the Visitors Center and spend the day outside.
The New Acquisition Militia is a small group of volunteers that meet regularly to camp out and practice living history at Kings Mountain. We met everyone last spring during the first encampment of the year. Ann demonstrates spinning and Becky cooks on Saturday. The men do weapons demonstrations and talk about how backwoodsmen of the day lived.
On the Saturday of the Veterans Day Encampment I was in charge of candle making and Tom tended the fire and talked about fire starting. I heated up the beeswax in the pot and got some wicks started. If you are dipping candles, the wick wants to curl and bend when you first put it in the wax. I got the candles started so the children making them wouldn’t have to touch the hot wax.
The good thing about beeswax is that it melts at 150 degrees, so it doesn’t cause burns if the children get a drop on them. Although I watched the children carefully, I felt comfortable letting them dip the wicks. They dipped a wick in the wax and then dipped it in a bucket of cold water to cool and harden it. After 10 to 15 dips, they had a candle that was the circumference of a tapered candle. Because I was only using a small pot, however, their candles were pretty short. Nevertheless, the kids were delighted with what they made and excited about taking them home and burning them.
I really enjoyed getting out and helping the children make candles. It was a busy day so the time flew by. Tom also did living history on Sunday but I was back in the Visitors Center. And, with that, our time at Kings Mountain was over.