America's diverse culture will be explored next weekend as "Yorktown Sampler: An American Heritage Festival" is presented the Yorktown Victory Center at Yorktown, Va.
This year's event has been expanded with two outdoor stage areas, featuring first-person interpretations, music and dance performances, crafts demonstrations, ethnic foods and children's activities.
Through first-person interpretations you can learn about life for the 18th century African-American, early American farming, American Indian building techniques, mountain folklore, and military life during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. There will be performances by an African-American dance company, the Rising Water Indian Dancers, Skyline Cloggers, the Strath James Pipes and Drums, and the Elegba Folklore Society.
More than 30 craftspeople will be on hand to demonstrate and sell 18th and 19th century wares. You'll find everything from African clothing and jewelry to Indian pottery and Appalachian crafts, as well as folk art, baskets, woodcarving, quilts and tinware. Ethnic foods such as Indian fry bread and tacos, American buffalo burgers and stew, and Japanese yakitori will be sold. Children can enjoy pony and wagon rides, a petting zoo, storytelling, crafts and games.
The festival will be held Saturday and next Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5.75 for adults, $2.75 for children 6 to 12, free for those under 6.
The Yorktown Victory Center is on Old Route 238 and the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. For information, call (804) 887-1776.
Fair Hill Races
Many will head for the Elkton area on Memorial Day to attend the Fair Hill Races, an afternoon of steeplechase and turf racing with parimutuel wagering. Not only is the event popular with racing fans, but its country fair atmosphere offers fun for the family.
There's an activity area with games and crafts to keep children busy as well as a small craft fair, live bluegrass music and food concessions. A crab cake lunch and cash bar will be available in the Tea Barn.
The grounds open at 11 a.m., and post time for the first of eight races is 1 p.m. One of the highlights of the afternoon is the $25,000 Miles Valentine Novice Stakes, which features promising new horses. Racing continues until 5 p.m.
General admission is $5. Reserved seating costs $10, free for those under 12. To reach Fair Hill, take Exit 100 (North East/Rising Sun) off Interstate 95. Go north on state Route 272 toward Rising Sun for about seven miles and turn right on state Route 273. For information, call (410) 398-6565.
Visitors to Somerset County can attend an old-fashioned festival of the 1800s era Saturday on the grounds of the old Fairmont Academy in Fairmount.
The academy opened in 1836 in the days before public education and offered instruction for boys and girls from grades 1 through high school. It closed its doors in 1969 and today is preserved as a museum.
In the early days, the academy's tree-shaded grounds provided a perfect site for festivals where ice cream socials, band concerts and games were held. The Fairmont Academy "1800's Festival" is patterned after one of those events, with band music, square dancing, a spelling bee, homemade ice cream, lemonade, strawberry shortcake, baked goods and seafood. A boat carver, chair caner and lace maker will demonstrate their skills. Crafts will be sold and new and antique quilts displayed. You can also tour the school buildings, which contain a classroom from the 1800s and one from the 1930s along with a waterman's museum, where displays depict the life of 19th century watermen.
Rain date is set for the following Saturday. Admission is free. Take U.S. Route 13 from Salisbury to state Route 413 toward Crisfield. Turn onto state Route 361 for about three miles to Upper Fairmount. For information, call (410) 651-0351.
Fort Frederick Rendezvous
Fort Frederick in Big Pool will hold its annual Fort Frederick Rendezvous Saturday and next Sunday.
This is the 18th year for the event, in which reactivated troops present military life during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The units will set up camps, demonstrate frontier and tactical skills, and engage in mock battles both days from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Food will be available, and sutlers will offer period wares for sale.
Fort Frederick is considered the best preserved pre-Revolutionary stone fort in the country. It is one mile east of Interstate 70 (Exit 12, state Route 56) near Big Pool. The park entrance fee is $4 per Maryland car. For information, call (301) 842-2155.
Victorian tea party
The old-fashioned rose and herb garden at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster will be the setting Saturday for a Victorian tea party. Tea will be served with cucumber sandwiches and tea-time desserts by ladies dressed in period costume from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
After tea you can play a game of croquet or take a tour of the farmhouse and its outbuildings.