Market and Frolic recreate pre-revolution era

April 25, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

BIG POOL - Fort Frederick has Friends. Yes, that's "Friends" with a capital F. The mission of the independent, nonprofit group, one of the oldest of such organizations in Maryland, is to enhance and support state parks.

The Friends of Fort Frederick also have friends - the Patuxents, the 40-member group sponsoring the eighth annual Market Fair and Rifle Frolic at the state park this weekend.

Although there will be some black powder shooting and target practice, the weekend is not a battle re-enactment.

"We really like to place more emphasis on the civilian experience," says Chas. Rittenhouse, president of the Friends of Fort Frederick. Rittenhouse expects to be doing some living history of his own this weekend, portraying Harmon Husband, a man he calls an unrecognized patriot, "an irascible and grumpy persona."


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 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

Big Pool

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.

Seminar schedule

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.

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