Don’t miss Market Faire at Woodville Plantation

John Oyler
The Tipperary, an Irish whiskey drink.
John Oyler

JOHN OYLER | Thursday, July 4, 2019 12:01 a.m.

Most of the time when we report on current events, it is “after the fact,” and our readers frequently comment that they wish that had known about the event early enough to attend it. Consequently, this week we are going to discuss a future event, one which we are eagerly anticipating.

Each summer, Woodville Plantation sponsors a re-enactment of the signature event of the Whiskey Rebellion, the Battle of Bower Hill, in mid-July. This year, that will take place on July 20 and 21. We have seen this several times and can confirm that it warrants attendance.

This year, however, the celebration has been greatly expanded by the addition of an authentic 18th Century Market Faire featuring entertainment, sutlers, craftsmen, and a menu of food appropriate for colonial times.

The sponsors of the Faire have promised that the nefarious Alexander Hamilton, portrayed by reenactor Pete Fernbaugh, will make several appearances to encourage Federal Marshal David Lenox to ignore President George Washington’s instructions and to “use whatever force is deemed necessary” to collect his hated Excise Tax. This time, perhaps the rebels will do more than just hang Hamilton’s portrait upside down.

Also at the Faire will be Dr. Balthasar and his array of patent medicines designed to cure all ills. Portrayed by Ohio Historical Society interpreter Mike Follin, this “snake oil salesman” hawks a magical medicine guaranteed to cure “consumption, baldness, the ‘summer complaint,’ dropsy, drunkenness and death of two weeks’ standing.”

A popular attraction at colonial market fairs were the curio (or raree) shows in which traveling entertainers displayed rare and exotic artifacts (“the stones that David did not throw at Goliath”) and entertainment (Punch and Judy shows). Jack and Maddie’s Turnip Wagon will re-enact this diversion at Market Faire. Children’s peepshows, marionettes, hobby horses, and occasional 18th-century songs are part of their repertoire.

No colonial fair would be complete without a wide variety of sutlers and vendors eager to sell their wares to the settlers attracted by the entertainment. The Midway at Market Faire will include an impressive collection of them.

Interested in a set of playing cards from the 1760s, or a Paul Revere lantern, or “fancy shoe buckles?” Be sure to visit the Smoke and Fire stand. The Celtic Forge booth will be perfect if you are interested in Celtic jewelry. The Small Canoe Trading company will offer clothing and items from the time period. Products offered at other booths include pottery, bladed weapons and leather jackets.

Don’t pass up the chance to see a legitimate period-style craftsman in action. An excellent example is Master Horner “Wild Willy” Frankford, whose talents lie in scrimshaw and powder horns. Ralph Babcock will portray a sutler making and selling wooden boxes and chests.

To get into the Whiskey Rebellion mood, we suggest you visit the Liberty Pole Spirits booth. Their distillery in Washington, Pa., produces seven whiskeys, including two that are authentic throwbacks to the Monongahela rye whiskeys of 1794. I wonder if they have paid Mr. Hamilton’s tax?

When you combine Market Faire with two days of re-enactment of the Battle of Bower Hill, the result is a must-see event for everyone even remotely interested in local history. Plenty of parking will be available in the ChemTech lot on the other side of the Washington Pike.

Share this Post