Fort Boonesborough
Kentucky History Award

Winner of 2 History Awards From the Kentucky Historical Society

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Trade Fair
 Memorial Day Weekend 2010

Photos by Jim & Kathy Cummings

Eighteenth Century Trade Fairs A Boon to
Re-enactors

Charles E. Hayes

The eighteenth century trade fair is a boon to re-enactors, especially those just getting started.  The trade fair hosted by Fort Boonesborough on Memorial Day Weekend made me think of my early days in re-enacting.  .

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As a young re-enactor, I practiced a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul while accumulating my outfit.  My problem was increased for several years because I was stationed in Europe where the hobby was slow to catch on.  I would have given a lot to have been able to visit an eighteenth century trade fair like the one hosted by Fort Boonesborough.  The wide variety, lower prices and proven goods would have made creating and outfitting my persona much easier.

This trade fair had several trade blankets.  Each trade blanket was covered with articles of outgrown clothing, replaced powder horns and pouches and other items that just begged to be associated with a re-enactors outfit.   These items had been juried and used for several years so came with a patina of wear.  Even better, the items were affordable.

Seasoned re-enactors benefit as well.  As our period personas evolve, we find ourselves needing new accouterments and clothing.  At a trade fair, we may find someone who has outgrown just what we are looking for --- and at a buyable price.  At Fort Boonesborough, for example, I found a sundial compass for five dollars.

The wide variety, lower prices and proven goods, at eighteenth century trade fairs, make it easier for a beginner to create and outfit a living history persona.   These events also provide an avenue for more experienced re-enactors to tweak their persona.  Visiting, shopping at (or selling at) these events benefits all re-enactors

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The original Fort Boonesborough was built by Daniel Boone and his men in 1775

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