Fronteir Craft Days are a trip back in time

July 31, 2003|by KIM HATFIELD

Attendees will be offered a trip back in time from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, and Sunday, Aug. 3, at the 31st annual Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days in Hagers-town's City Park.

"The purpose of this festival is to educate the public about the lifestyles of the people who lived in Western Maryland in the 18th century," says John Nelson, Hager House curator and organizer of the event. "Living history re-enactors will answer visitors' questions about the weapons and clothing used during the French and Indian War."

Jonathan Hager was a prominent figure during the early history of Western Maryland and built a home in 1739 in what is now City Park. During the early part of the 18th century, the area west of Hagerstown was largely unexplored territory. Hager, a captain of a local militia group during the French and Indian War, helped defend the colony at Fort Frederick.


"During the early part of the 18th century, Western Maryland was the absolute frontier," Nelson says. "Areas further to the west were known as Indian territory."

Local re-enactors plan to demonstrate the lives of early colonists during the two-day event.

In addition to the living history display, children will have the opportunity to play some frontier games, including hoop races, during the festival.

Keeping with the tradition of the early 1700s, a variety of string music is planned throughout the two-day event.

"Mountain music is appropriate for this event," Nelson says. "We looked for well-known musical groups and signed them up for the festival."

Karen Ashbrook, a world-renowned Irish hammer dulcimer player, is only one of the musicians who will provide entertainment at the park. In addition to Ashbrook's Celtic music, sounds from instruments such as the banjo and mandolin will echo through the park as Appalachian-inspired musicians perform on both days of the festival.

More than 40 artisans plan to sell their wares at the festival. Nelson says that needlework, jewelry, basketry and metalwork are a few of the items that will be displayed.

"Gary Doub, a returning blacksmith, plans to sell lantern holders and S-hooks," Nelson says. "Some of our artists have worked at this event for more than 15 years."

Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days is free. The fee to tour the Hager House is $4 for adults and $2 for children. For information, call Nelson at 301-739-8393.

Kim Hatfield is a correspondent for The Herald-Mail.

If you go...

Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days

Saturday, Aug. 2, and Sunday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jonathan Hager House

110 Key St.


Event is free

Parking will be available in City Park lots.

For information, call 301-739-8393.

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