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Washingtonian Twist on Crafts

National recognition for 18th Century Craft Fair at Mount Vernon.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Mount Vernon Estate will celebrate the 11th anniversary of its 18th Century Craft Fair Sept. 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

A recreation of a lively early American marketplace, dozens of juried artisans come from throughout the nation to demonstrate their trades and sell their wares. There are also two stages of family entertainment featuring period amusements.

Mount Vernon’s 18th Century Craft Fair is the most authentic and diverse event of its kind, bringing together distinguished artisans working in colonial attire. While they are creating the various items once purchased by George Washington they are also explaining the early American procedures they follow.

Recognized by the American Bus Association as one of the top 100 events in North America in 2005, the Craft Fair is included with regular admission to the Estate: Adults $13; children 6 to 11, $6; and children five and under free.

George and Martha Washington will preside over an array of entertainment that includes: The James Rose Puppets; Mr. Bayly, Conjuring and Entertainments; Signora Bella, Equilibrist; Otto the Sword Swallower; Ship’s Company Chanteymen; and others. Visitors are invited to participate in sword play, drum lessons, open hearth cooking, and other 18th century activities.

In addition to free guided walking tours and Potomac River sightseeing cruises, while tickets are available, attendees can partake of some 18th Century Fair fare available at various Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands. Offerings range from turkey legs to ice cream and pretzels.

Early American marketplaces were common in George Washington’s time. They ranged in duration from a few days to several weeks. Citizens attended fairs to barter goods as well as gossip and enjoy theatrical shows and musical performances. The earliest known fair in the Mount Vernon area was in 1752 in a town that would come to be known as Alexandria.