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Art from another era

August 05, 2004|by Cheryl M. Keyser

With the strains of Appalachian-style music as a harmonious backdrop, the 32nd annual Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days will be celebrated this coming weekend, Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8.

This is "Hagerstown's oldest and largest craft show," said Jonathan Hager House Curator John Nelson.

The two-day event focuses on crafts and music that typified the time when the Hager House was built.

"Many of the craft techniques demonstrated are ones which Hager himself would recognize," Nelson said.

More than 50 artists and craftspeople from up and down the eastern United States will be featured. The work of the participants has been checked for authenticity and originality. Visitors can explore pottery, basketry, woodworking and needlework, along with the work of leather artists and jewelers.

For family fun, Kent Roberts will draw caricatures, and Laura Phillips will paint faces.

Live entertainment starts Saturday with Whippoorwill, a West Virginia duo, at noon and 2 p.m. Penny Hall plays the hammer dulcimer and penny whistle, while partner Mary Dailey performs on the lap dulcimer and guitar; both sing.

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At 1 and 3 p.m., Ken Kolodner, who plays the hammer dulcimer, will take center stage.

At noon and 2 p.m. Sunday, the duo Bona Fide will lead off with Charlie Casabona on banjo and mandolin and Dailey again on acoustic guitar and lap dulcimer. They will explore several musical traditions, including Irish ballads and banjo tunes, as well as showcase original compositions.

Also Sunday, at 1 and 3 p.m., Driftwood, a group from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., will be featured with Craig Boynton on acoustic guitar and Mike Tepper on mandolin.

For Frontier Craft Days, the 265-year-old Hager House in Hagerstown's City Park will remain open longer than normal. Interpretative guides outfitted in 18th-century period dress will conduct tours every half-hour.

Hagerstown is "one of the few towns that still has the home of its founder," said John Bryan, historical interpreter at the Hager House.

And it has "one of the best collections of 18th-century furnishings," he said. "Visitors will see some unique pieces never seen before even if they have visited other old homes."

In addition, a living history encampment, organized by the Friends of Fort Frederick, will portray frontier conditions during the French and Indian War (1754-63). Jonathan Hager captained a militia unit that served at Fort Frederick during that time.

And if all of this stirs an appetite, food vendors will be on hand.




Cheryl M. Keyser is a freelance writer for The Herald-Mail.

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