The time has come for spit-roasted chicken, ale tents and turn-of-the-century singing and dancing.
The first Market Fair of the year will be held at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm this weekend, May 21 and 22, from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., said Vickie Baker, a spokeswoman for the Farm.
“The Market Fair features 18th century wood working, spinning, basket making, live music, singing and dancing, and lots of fresh food,” she said. “We’ll have roasted chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh bread.”
Volunteers at the farm will be “in costume and in character,” Baker said, to enhance the experience.
“It’s an educational and cultural event, so it’s fun for families to come to together,” she said.
The Market Fairs began in 1982 in the hopes of bringing 18th century life to the modern day, said Anna Eberly, director of the farm. “We try to show the pleasurable aspect of farm life from that time.”
The fairs are held twice a year, mandated by Fairfax County law to be held in May and October, when farmers from that time period would have met to exchange goods and information and take a break from the work-intensive life on the farm, she said.
“We’ll have various stands and shops set up, like a dry goods stand with dishes and wooden wares. We’ll have a store selling goods for gentlemen, a jewelry stand, all things that would’ve been found at the time,” Eberly said. “All of the goods are made at the farm, plus we’ll have volunteers around to teach people how to spin and do other things.”
WALKING THE GROUNDS of the farm will be singers and dancers in period costumes, along with a rope walker and swordsmen to teach children how to fence, she said. “We’ll also have professional basket makers, weavers and chair makers whose products fit into the era we represent,” she said.
And what kind of farm experience would it be without animals?
“We’ll have pigs, wild turkeys and sheep that will be walking around during the weekend,” Baker said.
“There’s a nice family atmosphere to the whole event,” Eberly said. “It’s a very pleasant and charming place. There’s a low stress level. There’s something for adults as well as children, so it’s really nice for families to enjoy together.”
The Claude Moore Farm also has a living history museum that will be open during the Market fair, she said. Additionally, the Gatehouse gift shop has been renovated since last year and will be open, offering, among other gifts, the book “Abigail Before the Revolution,” a children’s historical fiction book based on one of the characters at the farm, Baker said.
More information and directions to the farm, located just off Georgetown Pike near the C.I.A. offices, can be found at www.1776.org, she said. The Market Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children between the ages of 3 and 12 and senior citizens, and a pass for free admission is available on the Web site.