The Market Fair is more of a shopping event, says Patuxent Frank Davis, chair of the activities. But the wares - blankets, tinware, guns and gun supplies - at the fair are not of the large discount store variety.
The juried market is exclusive. The sutlers (meaning vendors), more than 160 of them, some from as far away as New Mexico and Washington, must meet the Patuxents' strict period criteria in order to be part of the fair.
Fort Frederick, built in 1756 by the colony of Maryland to defend its western frontier during the French and Indian War, has been partially restored and is considered the best preserved pre-Revolutionary War stone fort in the United States, says Ranger Cedric Poole of Fort Frederick.
The Patuxents provide living history of Maryland's frontier period - from 1640 to 1840, Poole says.
That period of American history interests Davis because it was during that time that our country and its political system were established, he says. Davis, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., has been involved with the Patuxents for about 10 years.
So much history happened in the Tri-State area, says Davis, who grew up in Waynesboro, Pa. The more you learn, the more you want to know, he says.
The Market Fair is one of several events the Friends of Fort Frederick host during the year, Rittenhouse says. Since the group started in 1993, the Friends of Fort Frederick have contributed more than $75,000 to the park.
For information about Fort Frederick State Park, go to www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/fortfrederick.html on the Web.
If you go . . .
Eighth Annual Market Fair and Rifle Frolic
Today, and Friday, April 26, Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fort Frederick State Park
11100 Fort Frederick Road
Fort Frederick State Park is one mile off Interstate 70, exit 12, Md. 56, 20 miles west of Hagerstown.
Admission is $3 per person and free for children younger than 6. Proceeds benefit Friends of Fort Frederick State Park.
Access to the C&O Canal, Big Pool and the campground through Fort Frederick State Park will be closed through Sunday, April 28, at 6 p.m.
For information, call 301-842-2155.
All held under the seminar marquee
Friday, April 26
10 a.m. - Historical Overview of Fort Frederick, 1756 to present-day reconstruction
11 a.m. - Hewn log structures, Roland Cadle
Also discussions and demonstrations through the weekend.
Noon - Ladies' straw hats, Carol Yargo
Discussion and hands-on workshop.
2 p.m. - 18th-century cooking methods, Ken Bartleson and Tom O'Farrell
Saturday, April 27
10 a.m. - Historical overview of Fort Frederick, 1756 to present-day reconstruction
11a.m. - From flax to linen, Claire M. Moore
18th century tools and methods of growing flax and processing the fibers into cloth.
Noon - Scottish weaponry, Glenn McClain
2 p.m. - Baroque dance, Nancy J. Walker
Demonstrating maggotts, minuets and other merry concerts.