Mount Vernon is readying to hold its annual Colonial Market & Fair at the majestic home of George and Martha Washington. The event will take place next weekend.
The Colonial Market & Fair is a popular event that features crafts, wares, demonstrations, and entertainment, all 18th century style. Visitors can experience a taste of Colonial life first-hand, as entertainers, artisans and living history members dress up in period style. Throughout the day, Revolutionary-era living history can also be observed.
In addition to enjoying the atmosphere, fairgoers can also take the opportunity to do some shopping, (in my experience, many of the vendors sell gifts that are perfect for the holidays).
Otto the Swordswallower in a 2006 performance at Mount Vernon's annual fair
"Mount Vernon’s Colonial Market & Fair is the most authentic and diverse event of its kind, bringing together distinguished artisans working in colonial attire and a dozen entertainers who re-create the amusements loved by early Americans," Mount Vernon said in a press release emailed to Digital Journal. "As visitors shop, artisans demonstrate their crafts and explain the historic trades used to make items similar to those George Washington purchased in the 18th century."
Visitors can also expect to see "General Washington" come out to join his guests. In between chats with his guests, he'll be overseeing the Revolutionary War military drills and entertainment.
18th century medicine man explains the wonder of his miracle potions
For entertainment, visitors to Mount Vernon during the market and fair can experience Colonial style music and performances. Some performers returning for 2012 will be Mr. Bayly, Conjuring and Entertainments, Signora Bella, Equilibrist, and Otto the Sword Swallower. Visitors can also stop and listen to the medicine man sell his potions, and the kids can enjoy a puppet show.
An annual event for over 15 years, the Colonial Market and Fair attendance varies, but the organization says it hopes to see 10,000 visitors this coming weekend.
Melissa Wood, a Mount Vernon spokesperson, described to Digital Journal in an email the uniqueness of the fair, as Mount Vernon organization believes it to be the "only event of its kind in North America".
Revolutionary era militia reenactment at Mount Vernon
Additionally, fairgoers have an opportunity to take a free sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River, courtesy of Spirit Cruises and Potomac Riverboat Company. If you'd like to take a river tour, be sure to stop by the designated table and get your tickets early, as supplies are limited (you can find this information and more in the event programs available on-site).
"Our Events team plan for months," Wood shared with Digital Journal. "A jury of Mount Vernon staff, which includes curators and historians, decide which vendors can participate. The goal is to have the goods offered for sale as authentic for the period as possible."
This year's Colonial Market & Fair will be held over the weekend of Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can attend the fair with general admission to the estate. During the day, fairgoers can also tour the interior of Mount Vernon, explore the grounds, and see the exhibits and displays in the museum.