Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mount Vernon's annual Colonial Market & Fair

If your visit to the D.C. area falls during mid-September, there is an early-American marketplace that takes place at Mount Vernon, complete with entertainment, that takes place each year, even the General himself is present. 

Even if you live in the area and have been to Mount Vernon, the Colonial Market & Fair is a fun event if you're looking to have a family day out. 

A popular event that showcases Colonial life, the day features crafts, demonstrations, wares and entertainment. You can get a first-hand experience of Colonial life as vendors, entertainers and artisans dress up in period style. Throughout the day, you can also experience and observe Revolutionary-era living history.

Fair-goers can also expect to see General Washington throughout the day, as America's first president also offers several question and answer sessions in between his overseeing of militia drills and entertainment for his guests.

'General Washington' speaks to a group of his guests describing events and answering questions

 Entertainment this year includes Punch & Judy: The James Rose Puppets, Mr. Bayly, Conjuring & Entertainments, Signora Carmella Bella, the Great Italian Equilibrist, Dr. Balthasar, Miracle Medicine for Man and Beast and Otto the Sword-swallower, with shows scheduled throughout the day.

Otto the Swordswallower during a 2012 performance
At the fair you can see 18th century demonstrations, such as doing laundry and making chocolate, and you can meet and chat with Revolution-era troops. Also, there are usually a few different tents where musicians entertain the General's guests. Mount Vernon notes a new event this year. Visitors can try their hand at 18th century cricket throughout the day.
Chocolate making demonstration - 18th century style
Of course, visitors to the fair can also do some shopping. All of the vendors sell Colonial-era wares and are dressed up in period clothing. Many of the products sold perfect for everyday use or the holidays. Over the years I have picked up many items including wooden spoons, soaps, and Christmas ornaments, to name a few. Mount Vernon notes there will be 50 artisans at this year's show. 
One of my favorites - soaps. I stop at this tent every year and stock up.

A vendor sells a variety of herb mixtures, soup mix, jellies, teas, etc. Another one I usually stop at.

Additionally, every year, courtesy of Spirit Cruises and Potomac Riverboat Company, there are free boat rides on the Potomac River, and this year is no exception based on the announcement put out by Mount Vernon.

I usually try and attend the fair every year, only missing a couple over the last 10 years or so. It is a popular event for both locals and out of town visitors.

For 2014, Mount Vernon's Colonial Market & Fair will be held on the weekend of Sept. 20 and 21 (Sat & Sun) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Admission is included with a regular ticket, so you can also visit the mansion and grounds during the day as well. 
Artisan demonstrates how to make pottery. The vendors are friendly and offer a lot of information.

Musicians at Mount Vernon's Colonial Market & Fair

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