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Re-enactors, vendors gather for 18th Century Market Fair at Fort Frederick State Park

April 24, 2008

BIG POOL -- It was like going back to the 18th century, except with credit cards and talk of rising gas prices.

Re-enactors were dressed in attire that would have been common during the French and Indian War Thursday during the first day of the 14th annual 18th Century Market Fair at Fort Frederick State Park.

However, shoppers looking for period clothing, blankets, weapons and other items common in the 18th century were talking about the price of gas and paying for their purchases with credit cards.

There will be 135 vendors, called sutlers, throughout the event, which runs through Sunday. Lt. Angie Hummer, park manager of the Fort Frederick complex, said she expects between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors throughout the four-day event.

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"To buy goods from a French trader in the shadow of an 18th-century fort is pretty exciting," said Sandy Izer, who lives in Downsville.

Izer said she never misses the annual market fair, and typically buys candlesticks, ribbons, baskets, clothes and other items from the merchants.

"It seems like it gets bigger and better every year," she said.

Paul Mueller owns Northwest Traders in Enon, Ohio, and said all of the items he sells are made by hand and are representative of 18th-century goods.

Mueller, who has been in business for 30 years, has been at the Market Fair since its first year. He said there are fewer vendors now, but they are a higher quality.

Ruth Konrad, who lives outside Bally, Pa., is selling linens, fabric and sewing materials at the Fort Frederick event for the sixth year. She said she sells mostly to re-enactors.

"I also sell to people just looking for good linen at reasonable prices," she said.

Konrad said her linen is a reasonable facsimile to what would have been found in the 18th century.

Abe Price, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., who owns Raystown Forge, said he sells mostly to re-enactors, and said a large number of people are interested in the pottery, knives and other items he sells. It's his fourth year selling at the Market Fair.

Price said he enjoys the people at the annual event.

Like other vendors, Common Ground Pottery owners Pat Lipps and his wife, Amanda Lipps, of Ohio, are giving up modern conveniences during the event. They are camping in a tent near the tent set up for their pottery, and on Thursday were about to enjoy salmon salad for lunch using cutlery that would have been available in the 18th century.

The couple said they enjoy talking about history with shoppers, and even playing the fiddle for them.

"We're here because we like to be here," she said.




If you go

What: 14th annual 18th Century Market Fair

When: Today and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Fort Frederick State Park, Big Pool

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