Old Sturbridge Village to host Sleigh Rally this weekend

Date: 2/20/2015

STURBRIDGE – Old Sturbridge Village has turned into a winter wonderland, and  conditions are perfect for its upcoming Antique Sleigh Rally, set for Feb. 21, with dozens of vintage horse drawn sleighs competing. The Village’s half-price “Winter Wonderful” admission applies for all adults, parents, and grandparents through Feb. 28.

Lodging packages are available at the Village’s own Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges, located adjacent to the museum. For times and details, call 800-SEE-1830 or visit www.osv.org.             

The Sleigh Rally begins at 11 a.m. and drivers will compete in a dozen different classes, including the popular “Sleigh Dog” and “Currier & Ives” divisions, where drivers dress in 19th-century costumes. 

The sleighs will be pulled by a variety of horses – from tiny miniature horses to giant Clydesdales. Visitors can also warm up inside and hear presentations by Village historians on The History of Sleighs and Sleighing, and The History of Ice Skates and Skating.

According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, getting about in winter via sleigh over snow-packed roads was easier than navigating bumpy roads at other times of the year.

After the first snow of the season, early New England families usually switched from wheels to runners and from carriages to cutters.

And sleigh bells were not just for decoration but served a very real purpose – warning pedestrians and other vehicles of fast approaching horses and sleighs. 

Without bells, sleighs slid so silently over the snow that collisions were common.