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Loomis Days Picnic, Lumberjack Speaker

The Loomis Historical Society will host the Loomis Days Potluck Picnic on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Town of Lake Hall. The potluck dinner will begin at noon and those attending are asked to bring a dish to pass and own tableware. Beverages will be provided.

Upper Peninsula based author and songwriter, Bill Jamerson, will present a musical program about Wisconsin Lumberjack history after the meal. There is no charge for the program, but a free-will offering can be made to help defray the cost of the program.

The title of the program is “It’s Daylight in the Swamps”, a phrase shouted by cooks at lumberjack camps over a hundred years ago to wake up the men in the morning. With guitar in hand, Jamerson sings traditional lumberjack songs, tells stories and tall tales about life in the lumber camps. Dressed in costume, Jamerson takes his audience on a musical journey with songs about working in the woods, living in a bunkhouse, the hardships of river drives, the importance of camp food, and going into town in the spring. The lumberjacks were a colorful lot, mostly immigrants who brought a zest for living and a hunger for the American dream. Most of them came to America to become homesteaders.

In camp, lumberjacks entertained themselves in the evening by reading, sewing, playing card games, playing musical instruments and telling tall tales. Jamerson shares several of these tales including the story of the “side-hill gulper” and the feared “hoop snake”.

Jamerson performs traditional songs that were passed from camp to camp. The songs range from foot stomping jigs to soulful ballads.

The program contains stories of strength, wit and charm. They are as entertaining as they are educational, as honest as they are fun. Jamerson also presents programs on Iron Miners, the CCC and Ski Jumpers. He has produced 11 documentaries for Public Television, recorded three CDs of songs and stories and has written a historical novel. For more information about this or other programs, contact the Loomis Historical Society secretary, Pat Kaufman at 715-854-2297.


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