House in the Horseshoe spared from closure, welcomes visitors this weekend
The threat of temporary closure loomed over the House in the Horseshoe for months, but the state historic site has survived the budget chopping block — and just in time for its signature event.
“We are spared with the [final state] budget ... ,” said Alex Cameron, interim site manager at the historic property, located just outside of Sanford in Moore County. “We want to let everyone know we’re going to remain open and hopefully have another successful event this weekend.”
The site will host the 34th annual reenactment of the Battle of the House in the Horseshoe Saturday and Sunday. Visitors will witness a reenactment of the July 29, 1781, raid at the house, when Tory leader Col. David Fanning attacked and captured Col. Phillip Alston and his band of Whig militiamen at Alston’s home.
The site and the yearly reenactment, which has been listed among the top 20 August events by the Southeast Tourism Society, were slated to be shut down under Gov. Pat McCrory’s initial budget proposal, along with several other sites, according to Cameron.
A Senate proposal called for no closure, he continued, but required the House in the Horseshoe to trim its three-person staff.
“The House version was a little more friendly,” Cameron said, only reducing staff by one. He added that the recently passed compromise budget kept the site open and did not include a staff reduction.
The final budget also keeps three other sites in operation, said Keith Hardison, director of the Division of State Historic Sites and Properties for the N.C Department of Cultural Resources — The Aycock Birthplace in Freemont, the James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville and the Vance Birthplace in Weaverville.
“Overall, we’re pleased that the General Assembly saw value in what we have and what we do,” Hardison said, adding, “all of these sites, while they will experience cuts, were in a situation where we can manage to stay open, and we’ll continue to provide a basic level of service to visitors.”
But the money did grow tighter to run all 24 sites under his purview, Hardison said, and the division itself sustained a $192,000 reduction.
“We’ll have to analyze events that are above and beyond as a potential source of income for operation,” the director said, noting that the division is considering charging fees for special activities and tours while also seeking other sources of financial support.
However, he stressed that admission to this weekend’s activities at the House in the Horseshoe are free. The battle reenactment is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The site will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Period crafts such as blacksmithing, weaving, children’s games and pottery will be display, and militia and educational demonstrations are planned. Several vendors will be selling replica 18th-century goods.
“We’ll have musket and cannon fire going on,” Cameron said. “As always, re-enactors are camping for the weekend. The re-enactors are very engaging with the public.”
The House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site is located at 324 Alston House Road, 16 miles west of Sanford off of N.C. 42, and 10 miles north of Carthage. To learn more, call 910-947-2051 or see http://www.nchistoricsites.org/horsesho/horsesho.htm.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: The 34th annual reenactment of the Battle of the House in the Horseshoe
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4; the reenactment will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The site will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: 324 Alston House Road, 16 miles west of Sanford off of N.C. 42, and 10 miles north of Carthage
COST: Admission is free.
TO LEARN MORE: Call 910-947-2051