BAKER — Brisk morning temperatures did nothing to dissuade organizers and attendees alike as the annual Baker Heritage Festival got underway Nov. 2.


By the 10 a.m. starting time, the day was already warming up, and soon the Henderson Heritage Park and Baker Block Museum thronged with visitors.


"It’s a great day for it," said museum director Ann Spann, taking a break from tending to multiple details while tooling around the grounds in a recently donated replica of a turn-of-the-century, tiller-steered open horseless carriage.


The motorcar just added to the historic ambiance, its puttering motor complementing the chug of the 1910s John Deere motor-driven ice cream churn, the clang of a smithy’s hammer in one of the Heritage Park’s vintage North Okaloosa County buildings, the chop-chop of a traditional wooden shingle maker’s axe, and the occasional boom of a group of Civil War re-enactors’ cannon.


Joining the sounds of the annual festival were the gospel songs coming from a succession of traditional groups performing in the new pole barn, which was begun over the summer and completed just in time for the annual festival.


Spann said as funds become available, the North Okaloosa Historical Association, which runs the museum and annual festival, plans to buy audio and lighting equipment and rent the pole barn and heritage park for events such as weddings and school proms.


"We also want to start a series of historic demonstrations, presentations and lectures and the pole barn is going to be perfect for that," Spann said. "And it sure beats renting a tent every year for the Heritage Festival. That got to be expensive."


For attendees and vendors, the annual Baker Heritage Festival was just a great opportunity to relax in the congenial atmosphere of a small north county community, home to one of Okaloosa’s only two K-12 schools.


For vendors like Pam Pursley, whose Dirt Road Crafts tent was popular with attendees seeking soothing lotions and creams made with her home-grown herbs; or folks from the Holt Assembly of God, who literally shared the "Joy" of their faith with attendees by passing out bottles of the dish washing liquid; and brothers Justin and Jessie Bowden, who led a trio of sheep from the family’s local farm around the park for visitors to pet, the day was a blessing to share.


"People love the feel of the lanolin in the wool when they pet our sheep," Justin said. "We love sharing that experience with them."


For Historical Association President Tracy Curenton, the sure sign of another successful Heritage Festival came around 1:30 p.m.


"We ran out of boiled peanuts already," she said as her brother and helper, Leon Curenton, served up the last cupful. "That’s 50 pounds of peanuts we sold today."