THE FAIR AT NEW BOSTON 2008
Just returned from the fair at New Boston, which took place in George Rogers Clark Park in Ohio. Lizzie and I worked for Maria giving wagon rides to the public during the fair. Liz took up the money, and I worked as a 'safety guy', walking ahead of the wagon and keeping people from being stomped by the horses, or crushed by a wagon wheel.
I believe this might have been the very first wagon ride we gave on Saturday morning. Maria is in the driver's seat, Liz is at the back handling the money.
I wore a straw hat and wagoneer's smock supplied to me by Gerry. It was hotter than Hades in that heavy garment, as was to be expected. I shouted "Wagon coming through, make way for the wagon!" and "Mind your toes!"
It was facinating to make note of how oblivious the people on the roads often were to the approach of the horses. Maria said that the visitors were on a sort of 18th century 'sensory overload'. She was right though, there were LOTS of sights, smells and sounds to take in... it was a pretty fantastic affair.
Here's a picture of oxen and the freight wagon... the young man on the left is the wagoneer's apprentice, Jacob... the other fellow on the right is Gerry Barker. The oxen are named after Gerry's four least favorite kings, William, Charles, George and James. I can't tell them apart, but Liz swears that she can now.
After our shift was over on Saturday, Liz and I helped Gerry, Jacob and 'the boys' to haul a great load of straw and hay around the fair to deliver to various merchant's & artisan's camps. We even took a load over to the Indian camp. It was the best looking Indian village I've ever seen at ANY historic encampment. Liz and Jacob rode up on top of the loaded wagon... which rose about 12 feet out of the bed of the wagon itself, while I walked behind. It was great fun!
The wagoneer's camp was located at the back of the fair, in a shaded area. It was on a slight rise that overlooked the entire fair. The above picture was the view from our camp. The camp consisted of myself, Liz, Gerry, Maria, Janice, Jacob, Rachel, Melanie & her friend Melisa.
Other things we did after our shift ended on Saturday:
Ate lunch in camp.
Gerry introduced me to the two Surgeons in attendance. They were great guys, very knowledgeable with a fantastic (if somewhat gruesome) setup. Lots of interesting medical tools I had never seen before, some really specialized stuff. I am more determined than ever that I MUST get my 'traveling physician' interpretation up and going.
Walked around the fair visiting the merchants. I collected a goodly sum of business cards. Perhaps these might come in handy if we ever get a fair event like this restarted at Manskers?
The Arrogant Frenchman, Monsieur LeFarceur de VilleverteI introduced Liz to the French Lace Merchant and his wife. His interpretation always inspires me to perfect mine of 'The Doctor'... the French Lace Merchant even remembered me... after getting a closer look at me, I did look quite different than the last time he had seen me.
We helped to load in the dinner that was supplied to the participants on Sat. evening with the ox drawn wagon. One more excuse to take a ride. We hauled the giant food containers on and off the wagon.
Liz and I went exploring around the park and discovered the trail that lead to a beautiful little waterfall and creek. What a great park! I only wish I had worn my boots... by this point in the day my feet were practically raw from walking on rocks and gravel. Note to self: MUST get inserts for boots!
Free dinner and unlimited FREE beer for the participants that night... I drank my one very large mug of beer and it made me instantly sleepy. Although I'm sure the immense amount of sun and exercise I'd gotten that day didn't hurt things either.
Just before the dance
A great dance was held afterward in which we learned several of the most fashionable (for the year 1800) dances. There was a good-sized band and a large crowd present for the event. The girls in camp all changed into the best clothes they had available and got their hair done (thanks to Melanie) and generally acted silly.
Maria stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle whilst dancing with a fellow from the indian camp. I spent a portion of my time guarding the beer... when I wasn't dancing of course.
Liz and I resolved never to eat carbs again... we didn't eat a single green thing all weekend! Not that we didn't want to you see... just that they were few and far between.
More pictures for the fair can be found at the following:
Professional gallery of Characters from New Boston
This Guy's Flickr Site
Fair at New Boston Official Site