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Location: Waterford, VA
Date Built: Founded 1733
Colonial Sense finally made it to the 68th Annual Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit in Virginia on Friday, October 7, 2011. The fair would continue for the next two days with a different list of homes to tour. The weather was fabulous, and the crowds seemed large.
The Crowds at the Waterford Crafts Exhibit
It was a perfect match for the 155 Craft demonstrators that attended the fair. There was plenty of educational instruction focusing on 18th and 19th century craftsmanship throughout the town and educational classes in the 1867 Second Street School. This year the Waterford Foundation focused on the role Waterford had in the Civil War by having reenactments and demonstrations; however, 18th century cooking, musket firing, and military camp life was represented in the Bond Street Barn Field.
The homes on tour on Friday were the William WIlliams House built in 1816, the Griffith/Gover House built in 1799, the Wisteria Cottage built in early in the 19th century, the Asbury Johnson House built in 1886, and the Isaac Steer Hough House built in 1886, with a portion of the home dating back to 1806 according to the Katherine Riedel, the owner.
Unfortunately we could not return for the tour of the other homes the following days. This year the tour included the James Moore House, Mahlon Schooley House, Trouble Enough Indeed House, The Sugar Shack, and the Shawen House. The Methodist Church was open for tours along with the Old Mill which was filled with three floors of juried crafts. At the front door of the mill the gentleman greets you with a ruler or a basket to take inside. This is the method by which the weight of the people inside is controlled.
The William Williams House
Along with crafters in the mill, there were also exhibitors in the Bond Street Barn, the John Wesley Church, the Red Barn, Schooley Mill Barn, the Old School, and in the yards and parks of various places. These exhibitors were the best of the best in their workmanship. Each exhibitor had gone a rigorous jurying process in order to show their craft. Some of the work exhibited was frakturs, theorems, furniture, glass, jewelry and silversmithing, leather, metalworking, musical instruments, paper making and cutting, pottery and porcelain, woodworking, brooms and walking sticks, dried flowers, floor coverings, dolls and toys. The Cactoctin Presbyterian Church demonstrated apple butter making. There was an Art and Photography Exhibit in the Red Barn.
For the children there was plenty to keep them occupied. A mime and partner toured the streets looking to entertain the children. Ray Owen was telling stories. There was a barbershop quartet in front of the Corner Store. We saw the children fascinated with beekeeping and cheese making at the Schooley Mill Barn. There were hayrides, corn being shelled with an antique corn sheller and corn shucking, wheat threshing. leather tooling, candle making, and weaving. The children were given the opportunity to try out a shaving horse for the first time. We were surprised to see so many children at the fair on a school day. We can't imagine a better way to spend the day in learning all the engaging demonstrations that the fair had to offer. Remember that all children ages 12 and under can attend the fair free.
Children learning the art of weaving
We encourage you to visit our slideshow so that you will know what to expect when you visit the show on October 5,6, and 7 2012. There is plenty of parking with three fields. Please note if you are a little shy using the porta-johns, you may have some trouble. Make sure you mark these dates on your calendar, the fair is worth the trip.
Source: Text & photos by Bryan Wright
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