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Ebey’s Forever promotes rural heritage

A celebration of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve is taking place this weekend.

The Ebey’s Forever Conference begins Friday night with a potluck and culminates Saturday with a full day of workshops, kids’ activities and a presentation by an expert in historic preservation.

This year’s conference will focus on how “enhancing heritage” can lead to economic development.

Ebey’s Landing Historical Reserve Manager Mark Preiss said the reserve’s heritage is an “integral part of the economic sustainability of Central Whidbey Island.”

To explore the reserve’s heritage, organizers have scheduled a series of workshops and field trips throughout the day Saturday. Those workshops range from three generations of farmers discussing how their profession has evolved over the decades to tours of two family farms operating within the confines of the Reserve: Prairie Bottom Farm and Penn Cove Farm.

In addition, conference participants will have a chance to tour two historic farmsteads that normally aren’t open to the public: the Engle farmstead and the Reuble farmstead. People will learn about farm layouts and also meet the people who work on the farms and keep making things grow.

“It’s not only the property but it’s the people we’re engaging,” Preiss said.

Anthea Hartig, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s western regional office, will deliver the keynote address Saturday morning at the Camp Casey Conference Center auditorium beginning at 9:40 a.m. She will touch upon success stories in other parts of the country.

New to this conference in 2010 is the variety of activities available to children. Events include a geocaching adventure, exploration of the hidden passageways of Fort Casey and a tour of the giant trees in the reserve’s heritage forest.

Registration is required. For more information, visit www.ebeysforever.com.

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