The 28th annual festival will feature an 1800s fire pumper and chuck wagon, as well as antique firearms.

The 28th annual Ocali Country Days festival will feature many new exhibits this year, including an 1800s fire pumper and chuck wagon, as well as an under-glass display of antique firearms.

Scott Mitchell, Silver River Museum director, said selected guests will get a chance to pump the 1800s horse-drawn fire truck and others will get to man the hose and shoot at targets.

“They will be able to aim the hose at metal spinning targets,” Mitchell said.

Before the festival kicks off Saturday for the general public, several thousand children will have already spent the week visiting the pioneer village. The weekend event draws at least 4,000 visitors annually.

This year’s version of the event will be held Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The Silver River Museum, 1445 NE 58th Ave., is located within Silver Springs State Park.

There is free entry to Silver Springs State Park. The cost per person to attend the festival is $7, with children age 5 and younger free. Parking is free. Only cash is accepted at the gate.

Mitchell said the 1800s chuck wagon — a covered wagon used as a kitchen in the pioneer days — will be the home of cooking demonstrations.

There also will be an under-glass antique firearm display in the Silver River Museum library that will feature muskets used by Spanish settlers and other guns used during the pioneer days.

Mitchell noted that blues artists Johnny and Ben Prestage will join folk artists to provide music during the two-day event.

The festival showcases Florida during the 1800s. The theme this year is “Cow Hunter, Fort McCoy, 1890s.” The festival includes live music, historic displays, vendors, food, crafts and more.

Visitors can tour pioneer cabins, visit with Seminole tribal members, watch sugar cane syrup being made, tour the Silver River Museum and much more.

— Contact Joe Callahan at 867-4113 or at Follow him on Twitter @JoeOcalaNews.