The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, one of the nation's oldest and largest outdoor horse shows, opens Friday for its nine-day run through May 30 at the Show Grounds in Devon, Pa.
Here you'll see the country's best show jumping riders competing for a place on the four-man team that will represent the United States in this summer's Olympic Games. The show is the first of two selection sites for Olympic contenders. The team will be announced June 20, at the trial at the U.S. Equestrian Team's headquarters in Gladstone, N.J.
In addition to the jumpers, the show also attracts champion hunters, hackneys and fine harness horses, roadsters, three-and-five gaited saddle horses and four-in-hand teams. The coaching competition begins next Sunday with a carriage drive. Carriages assemble at Blackburn Farm about noon for their cross-country marathon to the Show Grounds. The competitions continue every evening through May 29.
The show opens with competitions for juniors; adult competition starts next Monday. The ladies sidesaddle classes should be of interest to Marylanders. A contender in that class is Joy Carrier, the first woman ever to win the Maryland Hunt Cup. She is expected to ride Tom Bob, the horse that won last year's Hunt Cup.
But all is not horses. The large country fair features rides for children of all ages, games, shops and boutiques, and food, from hot dogs to full-course gourmet dinners.
Another popular feature of the show is Iams Wonderful World of Dogs. Beginning next Sunday, these versatile dogs will perform nightly in a variety of classes, including speed and high jumping events.
Located on U.S. Route 30 in Devon, the grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. The midway opens each day at 10:30 a.m. Gate admission is $6 for adults; $2.50 for children under 12. Proceeds benefit the Bryn Mawr Hospital. Call (215) 688-2554.
Chestertown Tea Party
The Memorial Day weekend offers numerous possibilities for the daytripper. A traditional event is the Chestertown Tea Party Festival on Saturday in Chestertown.
The festival opens at 10:30 a.m. with a Colonial parade, made up of fife and drum corps, militia and floats, all traveling down High Street to the river. Along the route, Colonial craftspeople will exhibit their wares and demonstrate 18th century skills. More than 90 craftspeople will offer their wares for sale along with a variety of Eastern Shore seafood and other types of food.
Centerpiece for the festival is the re-enactment of the Chestertown Tea Party, an event that occurred May 23, 1774. Following the example of the Boston Tea Party to protest the tax on tea, citizens of Chestertown staged their own tea party. They boarded the British ship "Geddes" and dumped its cargo of tea into the Chester River. The re-enactment is scheduled at 2 p.m.
Walking tours take visitors past many of the town's early 18th century homes and a tavern that was frequented by George Washington. The tours are scheduled every half hour beginning at 11:30 a.m. You'll see a port filled with vessels of every size, including tall ships. For children there will be a variety of games and dances, a Punch and Judy show, storytelling, and a medicine show and songs and dances by American Indians. Country music, cloggers, Colonial dancers, square dancers, a militia drill, and a concert of top tunes from 1608 on round out the day's entertainment at 5 p.m.
Admission is free. For information, call (410) 778-0416.
A garden tour of private homes and historic sites in Frederick's historic district is scheduled Saturday and next Sunday, rain or shine, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Among the 13 gardens on this self-guided tour are those at the Visitation Academy, which at one time was a militia training ground commanded by General "Light Horse" Harry Lee; the birthplace of landscape designer Stuart Haller; the early 19th century gardens of the Lane and Tyler-Spite homes, and the Historical Society of Frederick County, where tourgoers can enjoy music and refreshments.
There will also be an art exhibit by two local galleries and flower carts along the tour route with flowers and bedding plants for sale.
Tickets cost $10. Proceeds will benefit the Hospice of Frederick County. For information, call (800) 999-3613.
Crafts and antiques
The 2nd annual Heritage Crafts and Antiques Festival will take place at Woodlawn Plantation in Mount Vernon, Va., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More than 50 juried exhibitors will come to Woodlawn to set up displays of fine antiques and crafts, and experts will be on hand to give appraisals for a small fee and conduct seminars from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.