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Fabulous time at Fair at New Boston – 1790 to 1810

Grace shakes hand of vendor of kids' pioneer toys (Grace has sword) at Fair at New Boston.  Click on picture to see over 70 photos of trip.

Grace shakes hand of vendor of kids' pioneer toys (Grace has sword) at Fair of New Boston. Click on picture to see over 70 photos of trip.

Over 16,000 visitors over the course of two days, 700 participants/volunteers, 1500 students participate in this living history fair at George Rogers Clark Park in Springfield, OH.  My four-year old Grace and I went on the Saturday (the fair is always Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend) from about 3 to 6 pm.  My ticket was $8.  Grace was free (that was nice).

The brochure vs. reality

Step through the gates at the Fair at New Boston and you step back in time 200 years to an authentic re-creation of an early American trades fair.  The “frontier celebration” showcases the best living-history craftsmen, artificers, artisans, entertainers and militia units.

I’ve lived in the Springfield, OH area for over two years, but I hadn’t yet visited George Rogers Clark park yet.  The Fair at New Boston seemed a good reason to go.  You do indeed enter through some gates.  There are some artisans and tents upon entry, but you have to walk a bit down a trail and walk over a rise before you see the main area, which is quite large and set up on the grass.  There are over 100 different tents in the main area, and most are vendors.  There are several “streets” between the tents.  In addition you walk to several differen areas – the “Indian Encampment”, the “Militia Camps”, and the “Longhunters” areas.

Afterthe Grand Opening Parade and ceremony, the Fair comes alive with the shouts of tavern keepers and sundry merchants.  You can watch a wheelwright making wagon wheels; you can feel the heat of the forge as a blacksmith pounds hot metal; you can observe spinners, potters, joiners, cordwainers, printers and many fine period craftsmen working diligently at their tasks.

The vendors are indeed pretty faithful recreations.  Several musicians play music throughout the grounds, some putting a hat out for tips.  You really can feel the heat of several fires.  We witnessed a volunteer pound her first metal after it was red hot from the fire.  The over 700 volunteers were friendly, and more than quite a few were willing to tell you a tale of how things were back then.  We saw the printer, the blacksmith, the toy maker, the clothier, etc.  Got to see part of the closing ceremony – neat.  Would have stayed for the whole thing but Grace was getting pretty antsy by that point.

Or you can shop for 18th century goods such as wood blankets, baskets, tinware, wood items, the furniture, period clothing, and more.

I ended up buying a (very expensive) $8 sword made of wood and leather (cost too much but a fun durable souvenir) as well as a $3 clay bird caller (put water in it and it really does sound like a bird).  Many of goods quite interesting.

You may stop and watch the entertainers on stage, at the taverns, or strolling on the grounds.  When you tire of that, stop in for a “small beer,” sarsaparilla or lemonade at one of three re-creations of actual documented early Clark County taverns.  Visit the woodland Indian village, thrill to the sound of gunshot, experience pride in the militia drills and take a ride inthe horse drawn coach.

Grace and I shared a huge roasted turkey leg ($6.50), which was OK and filling.  We ate it in Littlejohn’s Tavern, whre we also ate some ice cream with plum sauce, which was very good.  Did give you the spirit of the times back then.  Entertainers were really great – saw the entire performance of Otto the Sword Swallower (very cool) as well as the snake oil salesmen (also really neat).  Cannons fired throughout the day.  Children hawking apples, maple syrup and tomatoes in period costumes throughout.  Fort in the middle pretty neat.  Some of the other good vittles were Berries & Cream, Ham & Beans, Bison on a Roll, and Pork Chops.  Yum.

The Fair at New Boston is educational, historical and fun for the entire family.

This was definitely NOT corny.  Already looking forward to next year.  Also worth mentioning that Grace enjoyed were the pioneer toys (stilts, rings, other things…like the poetry?) and animals (turkeys, chickens, baby calves, etc.)

>> Fair at New Boston – http://www.fairatnewboston.org

>> George Rogers Clark Historical Association – www.grcha.org


One Response

  1. […] several new things including the Enon Apple Butter Festival, the Yellow Springs Street Fair, the Fair at New Boston, the Renaissance Festival, the Boonshoft Museum and Clark County Fair (which I haven’t […]

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