Students had the opportunity to time travel back to 1797 on Friday as they explored the Fair at New Boston.
The fair is in its 35th year and this year actors and actresses are portraying how life was right before the turn of the 19th century. The fair will go on through the weekend at George Rogers Clark Park and opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s supposed to be a colonial trade fair, which would be like a festival back then,” said Pam Cottrel, the marketing director at the fair and a columnist for the Springfield News-Sun. “People are showing their skills and sharing their best food that they had. People from all walks of life would be here. You had your poor people and your rich people.”
Kids were seen having fun going through the festival Friday. Two fourth-grade students, Madison Vannest and Larken Daley, had one of the actors make them horseshoes with their names on it.
“I like it,” Daley said.
She and Vannest said their favorite part of the fair was the Native American village. The fair aims to be as accurate as possible, Cottrel said, and local tribes trading with the colonials was common.
“You can go inside and they make (dolls) for you,” Daley said.
While the kids were having fun, Fair Master Cindy Jackson said the weekend also serves as an educational event.
“Our main goal is to educate the public on history,” she said. “With the way testing in the schools are now, I think history is getting less and less emphasis and we are forgetting our history.”
People in costume this weekend see the event as a way to keep the past relevant, Jackson said.
“It’s not being taught the way we feel it should be,” Jackson said. “A living history event is the best way to teach. It is the best way to catch their attention.”
Regardless of the weather this weekend, Cottrel said the fair will go on. The performers stay until 6 p.m. Sunday, she said, so people shouldn’t worry about missing anything if they come Sunday afternoon.
“For the people who put it on, this is great fun,” she said. “The fair is the premier event for many of these actors. This is the place to be.”
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