Each year, our little town of Thames (population 6,756 at the 2006 census) celebrates its roots with a week of activities. Thames Heritage Week is an opportunity to learn more about the town and area in a fun and interesting way.
During Thames Heritage Week, there is a variety of History Walks, where someone leads a group of people around an area and explain the history of what they are seeing. Each area of town has a different history, and thus, a different History Walk. We have (so far) attended one of these History Walks, the one for the Hall’s Reserve, the oldest arboretum in New Zealand, established and planted around 1873. The Walk was fascinating, seeing how the various native and imported species interact and compete. We will also attend another one or two History Walks this week.
Also for Thames Heriage Week, many of the historic buildings are open to the public, buildings which are not always available for viewing. There are displays of paintings and photographs, some historic and some more modern, showing various parts of Thames and various aspects of life in the 19th century. There are also art works on display around town, showing the history of crafts in the past couple centuries. I find the Maori art fascinating, seeing how intricately people can carve various materials.
There are also concerts and plays and other presentations. There are several galas and festivals. We attended my first school gala (like a school carnival or fair back in California). There were crafts and food and other items for sale, and the students of South School sang several Maori songs. We wandered around the school watching different things, viewing the historic South School, and then ate a hamburger each before watching the singers. It was a fun evening.
We also watched the Trolley Derby, where kids and adults coast down a rather steep hill in their homemade carts. The average speeds were above 50 kilometres per hour (about 30 miles per hour), and one fast cart reached 59 kph (over 35 mph). Some of the trolleys didn’t fare as well as others and ended up having to be pushed across the finish line. This was a very fun event.
Our church will host the Heritage Church Service this Sunday. Only acoustical instruments will be played, and we’ll sing from hymn books, rather than by seeing the words on the overhead projector. No electronics or electrical systems will be used this Sunday at Thames Baptist Church, which means that I won’t be allowed to use my iTouch NASB Bible. I guess I’ll have to take my paper Bible this week.
Thames Heritage Week is fun and interesting, and we are very glad to be here to enjoy the many activities and displays.