Folk festival to mark Mercer Museum's 75th year


May 05, 1991|By Dorothy Fleetwood

The Mercer Museum Folk Fest in Doylestown, Pa., is a nationally acclaimed festival of early American crafts. This year's 18th annual event Saturday and next Sunday sets off a yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the museum's dedication.

The museum was built by Henry C. Mercer to house his vast collection of early American tools and other artifacts. The building itself is somewhat unusual. A towering structure made of reinforced concrete, it is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

About 100 skilled artisans will be on hand to demonstrate and sell 18th and 19th century crafts. Many of the crafts relate to those on display inside the museum, which is open free both days. Pioneer crafts, such as cooking in a squirrel-tail oven, stringing a rope bed, making soap and shearing sheep, will be demonstrated.

There will be jugglers, cloggers, musicians, a militia encampment and a quilting bee. Children can enjoy hands-on crafts, puppet shows and storytelling.

Traditional foods will be for sale, including Brunswick stew, a beef roast, shoofly pie and homemade baked goods. At noon picnic basket lunches will be auctioned off.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and children aged 9 to 17, free for those under 8. Free parking will be available at the Fonthill Museum, East Court Street and Swamp Road, and free shuttle service will transport visitors to the Mercer Museum. For information, call (215) 345-0210.


Montpelier, lifelong home of President James Madison in Montpelier Station, Va., will be the site of the Montpelier Wine Festival Saturday and next Sunday.

Seven regional vineyards will bring their best wines for tastings. Although wines and wine-making demonstrations are the attraction, other attractions are scheduled. Among them are arts and crafts, live music, the Orange County Cloggers, a yodeling contest and classic British cars.

A festival highlight is the equestrian events, including dressage and cutting horse and draft horse demonstrations. Vietnamese potbellied pigs will be on display, as will cows and llamas and a petting zoo. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides and oxen rides. Virginia food specialties will be available.

The grounds will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Admission, including all events, wine tastings and a souvenir wine glass, is $10 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 21, free for those under 6. The house and grounds will be open for tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for an additional fee.

Montpelier is on U.S. 20, four miles west of Orange, Va. For information, call (703) 672-1653.


The Winterthur Point-to-Point takes place today, rain or shine, on the grounds of Winterthur Museum and Gardens on Route 52, six miles northwest of Wilmington.

Gates open at 9:30 a.m. and pre-race festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. with a tailgate picnic competition. Noted cookbook author Craig Claiborne will be among those judging the competition. Other events include an antique parade of carriages and the Dilwyne pony races for junior riders. Post time for the first of five steeplechase races is 2 p.m.

General admission at the gate is $15. Admission is free to children under 12, if accompanied by an adult. For information, call (302) 888-2312.


The 24th annual re-enactment of the Battle of New Market is scheduled next weekend at Long's Farm, one mile east of New Market, Va. Confederate forces camped at this site during the siege in 1864.

More than 1,200 re-enactors from 14 states and Canada will participate in the program. The re-enactment will take place, rain or shine, next Sunday at 2 p.m. Union and Confederate encampments will be set up on the battlefield on Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and again on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A skirmish is scheduled at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and re-enactors will participate in a parade through town at about 5 p.m.

The re-enactment is held in conjunction with New Market Heritage Days, which feature antique and sidewalk sales and concessions. A walking tour on Saturday conducted by costumed guides includes the R. L. Wicks house, built five years before the war; the Stewart Henkel house, which was used as a hospital; and the house where the provost marshal lived during Reconstruction. Free shuttle buses will run on Saturday between town and the encampments, which are open free.

Admission to Sunday's re-enactment is also free, but $5 will be charged for parking. Visitors are advised to arrive for the battle no later than noon. For information, call (703) 740-3132.


Another Civil War encampment is scheduled on Saturday by the 57th Virginia Infantry, Company H, at a pre-Civil War farm in Gettysburg, Pa.

Living history demonstrations and cannon firing, highlighted by a mock battle at 2 p.m., are part of the day's activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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