Fort Frederick Market Fair opens

April 26, 1997


Staff Writer

BIG POOL, Md. - Visitors can take a stroll through the nation's early history this weekend at Fort Frederick State Park during the third annual Market Fair and Rifle Frolic.

Re-enactors will portray traders and "sutlers" in full costumes from the 1640s to the 1840s showing and selling their wares.

The three-day event started Friday. It will continue today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. The entry fee is $3 per person. Proceeds support Fort Frederick.

"It's a village that blooms in about a day's time, then it disappears in a day's time," said Dan Eshelman, 55, chief of the Market Fair and Rifle Frolic.


"People can come to get a feel for what life was like in the early life of America. It's a living history."

Visitors can weave in and out of the rows of white canvas tents of blacksmiths, seamstresses and tailors, woodworkers and leather-fashioners.

"We've got people from all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico," said Eshelman, who also is the commander of the Friends of Fort Frederick. "Anything pertinent to the 18th century, we've got for the collector."

He said 137 sutlers and traders signed up this year.

"This has doubled since last year," said Joanne Hackett, 44, who came dressed in a white ruffled cap, hooded gray cape, long dress, apron and moccassins.

"It's a step back in time - away from the phone, the computer, the job and the family," she said. "It's really relaxing."

Joanne Hackett and her husband, Mark, who is 46, drove 150 miles from Selinsgrove, Pa.

"It was a very rough life," said Steve Fanok, 44, from Morgantown W.Va., who manned his tent as a "longhunter," someone hired by traders to bring in deer hides.

Fanok wore leather shoes and britches, a long shirt and a maroon wool vest called a weskit. He stood with a knife stuck in his belt and a haversack at his side.

"Nearly all the people here attempt to be historically correct," said Fanok, a city attorney for Morgantown. "It's eye opening."

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