We go to a lot of places up and down the seaboard in our pursuit of history and a good time , but there are few events as nice as the Market Faire at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder,Georgia. Built in 1793, the blockhouse sits near the lake and the park is lovely. Winder is about an hour north from downtown Atlanta and about 5 hours from my front door but it’s an easy drive. Certainly the end is worth the trouble to go as one would have to look very hard to find a nicer, more hospitable and enthusiastic group of people as those of the Fort Yargo historical Society. Juanita and Omer Alexander spread the welcome mat for all and sundry. She’s quite a character, funny and funnier by degrees and always with a kind word and a smile.
As I had to be back by Sunday, I decided not bring a tent. The Jamison Inn is literally two minutes away from the site and provided a nice place to sleep. It’s just as well because the weather was rather funky. When I got there early Friday afternoon, it was sunny but cold and windy, mostly windy! Maybe it’s because the lake is right there; huddling next to Patrick Servey’s fire , though, felt nice and even though the event didn’t start until Saturday, there were a suprising number of people wandering through, mostly parents and their homeschooled kids.
Saturday was a very busy day with all kinds of things going on. Trade blankets abounded and it reminded me of an old fashioned rendevous. There was a lot to see. Since last year, the group has built a blacksmith’s shop and a beehive oven. These seemed to be a main attraction. There was woodworking, smithing, a lecture on frontier pharmacology, horn and leather-working, beading, spinning, chair caning and cooking. Some of the group played period music most of the day and above all, there was a ton of pure camaraderie. There was no end to the food as Jim Buckenmyer cooked a breakfast that would make Henry the Eighth happy and Susie Brooks Fouts manned the cooking station, offering samples of hard tack and jerky to anyone who wanted to try it. She was roasting a fresh rabbit as well (poor Easter bunny caught it in the neck) and she provided something which I can only describe as pure ambrosia- Chicken Mull. Alternately called Chicken stew by the locals, she said it’s a local soup whose origins go back in history. I didn’t care; I could have had 3 bowls!
At 3 PM, Jim was the maitre d’ and Juanita hosted a heck of a fine tea for all the women present.It’s nice to have a courtly man serve up delections and hot tea at a lovely jollification. Hint, hint, fellas!!! Shorty after, I had to leave but not without seeing all my new and old friends and acquaintances. It was a wonderful time and I hated to see it end.