News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Colonial Fair At Mount Vernon
BY COLLETTE CAPRA
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
A sword swallower, fire eater, magician and puppeteers will add an exciting carnival atmosphere to the annual Colonial Market and Fair at Mount Vernon this weekend.
George Washington’s historic home on the Potomac River will offer families more than the usual opportunity to time-travel to the 18th century. The event will feature 50 craftspersons in Colonial garb who will demonstrate their skills in creating traditional wares like baskets, woodcarvings, metalwork, weavings, leatherwork and furniture. All of their goods will be available for purchase throughout the weekend.
In addition, costumed interpreters will be mingling with the visitors, providing points of information about the life and times of early America. They will demonstrate the 18th-century chocolate making process, using an authentic recipe from the Colonial era. Visitors will also have an opportunity to greet “Gen. Washington” himself. He will be strolling the grounds and overseeing the festivities as well as the re-enactors who will be participating in Revolutionary War-era military drills.
The Colonial Fair coincides with a limited-time opening of the “Hoecakes and Hospitality” exhibit, where guests can learn how meals were prepared and presented to the thousands of visitors who came to see George and Martha Washington throughout the 40 years that they lived at the estate. The exhibit will include recipes and cookbooks of Martha’s household, and guests can track the progress of foods grown on the estate from the gardens to the Washington’s dinner table, all while the fragrant aromas of cinnamon, coffee, and warm bread waft through the air.
Potomac River sightseeing tours will be offered free of charge throughout the weekend, courtesy of Spirit Cruises and the Potomac Riverboat Co.
The Colonial Fair and Market has been hosted for more than 15 years and typically attracts more than 10,000 visitors annually.
“It’s a one-of-the-kind event,” said Mount Vernon spokesperson Melissa Wood. “It’s our hope that children will gain an enthusiasm for Colonial life and a better understanding of George Washington’s world.”
What: Colonial Market and Fair
Where: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate; 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria.
When: Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: All activities are included with the regular price of estate admission: $15 adults, $7 children of ages 6–11: free for children 5 and under.
Info: Call 703/780-2000 or visit mountvernon.org
Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.