You couldn’t have asked for weather made to order for the Colonial Faire that took place on the weekend of February 19. The weekend was gorgeous, made more so as a contrast to the winter we’ve been having up until now. You could definitely feel the joy in the air and a certain lightheartedness. I think it was the sun on the skin and the mild and fresh smell of an impending spring that did it. The fort was abuzz with activity , all hands were on deck and there were people a-plenty to watch the Regiment and guests at work. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that there were between 300 and 400, maybe more , visitors in the fort on Saturday. There was a master gardener seminar at the Visitor’s Center and on the grounds , attended by about 120 or so people and this probably added to the number of visitors who came afterwards to see what else was going on at the historical site. Chad gave period writing lessons, George was keeping the tavern and Doug made beautiful tin punch items. Earl and Jacob demonstrated firemaking skills and the life of the hunter, Mike was busy with the tomahawk throw. Ronnie was making rope, Chris was making linen from flax, Norma was spinning and weaving and I was making a pine needle basket and cooking on the hearth. Norma was spinning and Amy was sewing. Kim was finishing up his bear hide started at the last muster and Renee was making cordage from dogbane. Mike and Ronnie guided Sterling through the cutting and sewing of his first leather tomahawk sheath and Sterling was very proud of his first effort. The Fife and Drum Corp played and added the sounds of festivity. This was only a little bit of what was going on inside and near those wall. I know there were more members and guests at work. Quite of few of the members were struggling with colds or bronchitis that’s been going around so it was a particular sacrifice for them to be there but they gamely came nonetheless.
In the midday, the men from the OVTA told a rousing story of the events leading up to the battle of King’s Mountain and you could see the fascination in the faces of all the visitors who ringed the story-tellers. Col. McCroskey, dressed in top hat and everything wrong gave a talk on what the well dressed frontier man should wear during this period.
There was a number of new faces at the fort which was gratifying. Bill Abernathy and Doug Welch came to join and Renee and Andrew who are very active in the Liberty play added quite a lot to the day’s activities and spent the night to get a feel for camp life in the fort.
Besides all this, there was a couple from Grayson County, VA, who had a period blanket sale. The thing that was so neat about this is that these were experienced reenactors, dressed impeccably and had very nice and interesting period items for sale.
Sunday was an overcast day and was one of those aftermath days. While it threatened to tinkle and in fact, started to at times, it stayed relatively dry so noone had to go home with wet canvas. Attendance was light and I and the others were almost grateful after the frenetic activity the day before. After a really nice service conducted by Chad under the fly at the Hillybilly Hiltin’ , everybody brought a plate to eat Sunday vittles and generally enjoy each other’s company until colors were dropped amd it was time to go.
I guess you’re wondering by now where the pot comes in. Sherry and I have had conversations in the past,wondering what people did during the seige when they had to take care of bodily functions. With that many people holed up in the fort and no soft leaves, cobs or other fibers, how did they manage? On cold nights, its hard for anyone now to manage when one has to get up in the middle of the night. I know the men have their own methods but for the ladies, one has to be TOUGH. I know that it is particularly interesting for anyone who, during winter musters, sleeps on the 2nd floor of the cabins or in the narrow confines of an upper bunk to slide down ladders or shimmy out of a top bunk , hit the floor and trot to the comfort station up yonder when it’s cold and /or rainy or snowy.
I’ve been reading up and it seems that the word “P” actually originated in the 18th century as to euphemize the word “p..ss” that had its origins in Saxon English. So where is all this going? I can tell you proudly that we in the Hillbilly Hiltin can brag that we had a pot to …. in, indoor plumbing that didn’t include a ceramic pot under the bunk. Friday afternoon, Mike installed a top o’ the line Ivory Throne upstairs and when I crawled up the steps to pitch the last tote, there it was in all its glory. My eyes bugged out and I almost slid back down the ladder laughing . The only thing that wasn’t there was a copy of Muzzleblast to keep one occupied. It sure did come in handy in the wee hours of the chilly mornings and certainly beat all the 18th century alternatives and not a few 21st century camping alternatives I can think of. ….. And that, my friends, is the end of that tune……
More about the activities: Check it out!!!
Ropemaking and drill
Ronnie’s excellent Cannon video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhoKkpHFOXA