Market fair starts today

April 27, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

BIG POOL - Much like sutlers did in the 18th century, Neal Redmond sells handcrafted wares for a living.

In his case, the wares are wearable.

Redmond and his wife, Margie, make 18th-century-style military and civilian clothing, such as waistcoats, knee britches, long pants, shirts, sleep waistcoats, coats, hats and ladies clothing.

They will be among more than 130 artisans, craftspeople and vendors at Fort Frederick's 12th annual 18th Century Market Fair today through Sunday. The fair is sponsored by The Friends of Fort Frederick State Park and the state park.

Fort Frederick is unusual because it is made of stone, park historian Steve Robertson says. Typically frontier forts during the French and Indian War were built of wood.


The fort was built in 1756 to protect the western frontier from French, Delaware and Shawnee raiding parties during the French and Indian War,Robertson says.

Fort Frederick became a state park in 1922.

The fort's 250th anniversary will be celebrated Memorial Day weekend.

The Market Fair will highlight what the fort was like between 1730 and 1790, whereas the anniversary celebration will commemorate the fort's entire history, Robertson says.

The market fair's focus covers around the time this part of Maryland was settled to when the state put the fort up for public auction because it was no longer needed, Robertson says.

The fair will feature sutlers, an encampment of re-enactors portraying soldiers and civilians, and living history demonstrations showing the fort's role during the French and Indian War and what soldiers' lives were like at the fort, Robertson says.

After attracting more than 4,000 people in 2004, rain hindered attendance at last year's fair, Robertson says. He's hoping for better weather for this year's event.

Other items expected to be sold by various sutlers include furniture, guns, powder horns and hunting bags. Like with the Redmonds' clothing line, many of the items for sale will be made by the vendors selling them.

Some vendors will demonstrate their crafts, such as the making of wooden furniture and weaving of cloth belts.

Redmond began making 18th-century-style clothes for himself. He was a re-enactor of the French and Indian War period.

He made more clothes for friends who liked what he was wearing.

The avocation became a career in 1990 after, at the age of 40, he was laid off from construction, says Redmond, who was living in Crofton, Md., at the time.

He and Margie made clothes out of their home, moving to Little Orleans, Md., in Allegany County six years ago. They sold their wares through mail order and at events such as Fort Frederick's Market Fair.

The fair, which Redmond considers to be the largest and most prestigious 18th-century market fair in the country, is the couple's biggest event of the year.

In spring 2005, they opened Druid's Oak in Hancock to sell their re-enactor supplies as well as those of others. They also sell historical reproductions and rustic home accessories.

They create custom clothes using wool, cotton, linen or fustian - a coarse cotton-linen blend used in the 18th century, Redmond says.

Not everyone is the same size, and the styles have specific measurements. For instance, knee britches have to be 2 inches below the knee cap. Any longer and they look like clamdiggers. Any shorter and they look like Bermuda shorts, he says.

If you go ...

WHAT: 12th annual 18th Century Market Fair

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Saturday, April 29; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 30

WHERE: Fort Frederick State Park, 11100 Fort Frederick Road, near Big PoolCOST: $25 to $35

COST: $4 per person. Free admission for ages 6 and younger.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 70 west to exit 12 at Md. 56 (Big Pool). Turn left onto Md. 56. Go one mile. The park entrance is on the right.

MORE:For more information, call Fort Frederick at 301-842-2155.

The Friends of Fort Frederick State Park will be selling raffle tickets to raise funds for park programming. Raffle tickets for a Fowler rifle cost $5, and tickets for a powder horn (cow horn), handmade powder-horn strap and handmade children's rocking chairs cost $1.

Schedule of events for the 12th annual 18th Century Market Fair

Today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

Visit the sutlers, encampment and fort.

Friday, April 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

Visit the sutlers, encampment and fort.

Living history demonstrations will be inside the fort.

Faire Wynds, which performs magic and music, will perform throughout the day. Check the group's tent for exact times.

Saturday, April 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

Visit the sutlers, encampment and fort.

10 a.m., flag-raising ceremony inside the fort

10:30 a.m., slack rope walker and juggler Signora Bella near the food concession area

11 a.m., Faire Wynds at their tent near the fort gate

noon, Signora Bella

1 p.m., Firearms, accouterments and equipment of the 18th century will be at the firing range. Using live firing demonstrations, this program will compare and contrast various firearms and related equipment of the mid-1700s.

2 p.m., Faire Wynds

3 p.m., Signora Bella

4 p.m., Faire Wynds

4:30 p.m., flag-lowering ceremony inside the fort

Sunday, April 30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.:

Visit the sutlers, encampment and fort.

10 a.m., flag-raising ceremony inside the fort

10:30 a.m., Faire Wynds

11:30 a.m., Signora Bella

12:30 p.m., Faire Wynds

1:30 p.m., Signora Bella

2 p.m., Faire Wynds

2:30 p.m., flag-lowering ceremony inside the fort

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