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Frontier life is revisited

April 25, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Laura Trudelle sat in a canvas tent Thursday, her bare feet and hands working a wooden device that would soon churn out a multicolored woven strap.

The Harrisville, N.H., resident has been weaving frontier-style goods for about eight years.

Not too far from Trudelle's tent, "Burrito" Bob Wright of Vermont cooked meat over a fire, which he soon would wrap in tortillas and sell to long lines of people wearing moccasins, breeches and raccoon hats.

Trudelle and Wright were two of the more than 1,000 participants in the 9th Annual Market Fair and Rifle Frolic at Fort Frederick State Park, which runs through Sunday.

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The event is intended to give visitors a chance to experience life as it was on the frontier from 1640 through 1840.

"It creates an awareness of the old days of buckskins ..." Assistant Park Manager Ben Sanderson said.

The Patuxents, a re-enactor group that portrays a former Calvert County, Md., Indian tribe, organizes the event every year to raise money for the Friends of Fort Frederick State Park.

Members of the Patuxents refused to comment on the event.

Trudelle said she goes to several re-enactor events a year and has been setting up at the fair for about five years.

"I love it here. It's wonderful," she said. "This is the one we don't want to miss."

Artisans, crafters and other re-enactors have filled the park for the weekend, some to sell items and others just to camp and take in the atmosphere.

Trudelle said she enjoys re-enacting the frontier times because of the simplicity of the era.

"It's one of the best environments to bring your children up in," she said. "You learn that you don't need all the things in the outside world to live. It brings you back to the basics."

Steve Robertson, a park historian with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said the event attracts participants from throughout the country.

"This is our biggest event of the year as far as the number of participants," he said.

Robertson said he hopes the event will encourage people to visit again to learn about the fort.

"I'd like people to discover and appreciate Fort Frederick for its history and for its contribution to the local area and Washington County," he said.

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