Colonial Williamsburg hosts oxen event


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will host its first symposium on oxen and their crucial role as beasts of burden through the centuries.

Oxen in the Old and New Worlds, consisting of lectures, demonstrations and panel discussions by oxen experts from America and Great Britain, will take place Oct. 30 through Nov. 1.

Ohio ties

The program is made possible in part through the generosity of Ronald and Janet Fox of Piqua, Ohio.

The Foxes are members of Colonial Williamsburg’s Goodwin Society of donors and have been visiting Colonial Williamsburg since the 1970s. Ronald Fox’s longstanding interest in animals and livestock inspired the couple to help fund this event.


Oxen have long been a key feature of Colonial Williamsburg’s rare breeds program, which represents the animals that would have been a part of everyday life in 18th-century Virginia.

Relied upon for strength and intelligence, as well as a food source, oxen were man’s main beasts of burden until the late 19th century, when horses and mules replaced them.

The three-day symposium will examine the ways oxen were utilized in centuries past, as well as the practical applications of their use today. Topics include history, uses, tillage, yokes and equipment, and 20th century farming with oxen.

Live workshops, demonstrations with Colonial Williamsburg’s rare breed oxen and interactive discussion panels complete the three-day event.


The event is open to the public for a registration fee of $195 per person, with optional dinner tickets for $55 per person.

Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-603-0948, weekdays during regular business hours.

For more information, contact Deborah Chapman at 757-220-7255 or go online to

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