This weekend, my husband and I went to visit The Fair at New Boston, while Jane visited her grandparents. The Fair isn't actually in Boston, it's in Springfield, OH...just north of Cincinnati. The setting of the Fair is between 1790 and 1810. Being that we both now own period appropriate attire for this era, we dressed the part. However, we did not register, and therefore, we weren't EXACTLY participants, or reenactors. We did our best though to follow the rules posted for participants, and with a couple of exceptions, I think we did pretty well. I didn't actually get any pictures of us in our outfits, but since I haven't made anything new, it doesn't really matter....we donned the same things we wore at the Jane Austen Festival.
The Fair was very crowded, and quite large, in my opinion. I'm sure there are larger sort of events than this out there, but as you can see from the picture, it was a crowd drawer. It's the largest event that I've been too, anyway. I was consumed by the energy of the place, it was a true market in every aspect. The air was crisp and fall like, with billowing clouds rolling fast by over-head. There were wisps of smoke swirling about the air, carrying the scents of camp fires, cooking meats, soups and stews and baking bread. Every once in a while, the earthy note of horses, and hay would waft by, followed by the sent of crushed herbs, like lavender and thyme. It was such a fresh, real smelling place. Nothing like the sterile, plastic smell of modern day malls or stores.
I was fascinated by the shear number of craftsmen and artisans. There were tin-smiths, black-smiths, leather workers, jewelry makers, fur traders, carpenters, shoe-makers, drapers, weavers, milliners, etc. I fell in love with this chair maker and two of his chairs...the black one in the forefront, and the green one behind it. Of course, I didn't have the means at the time to purchase one of these chairs. Maybe next year....
The only other thing that we purchased was food. There were many delicious food vendors at the fair. Lines were long, but worth the wait. We had sausage on a stick, raspberries and cream, peaches and pound cake with fresh whipped cream, and sarsaparilla (a.k.a. - root beer.) (This was the other area in which we erred...we didn't have our own period correct cups, plates or utensils, and so had to eat from the Styrofoam and plastic that the vendors were serving food in to the masses. We got not a few dirty looks from some of the reenactors for doing this. It states very clearly in the Fair's rules that those dressed in period attire must do EVERYTHING, including eating, in the manner that would befit a late 18th century lady or gentlemen. Alas, we failed miserably in that area. We eyed several vendors selling cups, bowls, utensils, etc. and decided, because of high prices at the Fair, that we would order over the web anything that we might need for future events.)
On the fringes of the market were several different camps set up in clearings in the woods. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy market and wonder off into these little settlements.