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 The Pioneer Times   July - September 2007

Fair at New Boston Celebrating 25 Years

By Pam Cottrel

The Fair at New Boston will be celebrating 25 years of Living History excellence on Sept. 1 – 2. The George Rogers Clark Heritage Association is planning a Silver Anniversary that is even bigger and more exciting than Fairs in the past. 

From the beginning the Fair at New Boston was known for its historical location. The largest Revolutionary War battle fought west of the Alleghenies, the Battle of Peckuwe, took place on the site in August of 1780. Most of the battlefield still remains open and undeveloped today with only two memorials and an interpretive center on the field. The Fair is on a rise overlooking the battlefield and the sites of the two Shawnee villages and British stockade. This unique location makes time travel back to 1790-1810 seem almost attainable.

The 25th Anniversary Fair will begin on Saturday Sept. 1, with cheering and huzzahs. Be there to see Revolutionary War hero General George Rogers Clark ride into the Fair on horseback. Cannon fire will salute General Clark, Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, Ben Logan, and other heroes of the frontier, as they are formally welcomed at Opening Ceremonies.

The heroes will be portrayed by men who are highly respected for their presentation skills and historical accuracy. Mel Hankla will portray Clark. Steven Caudill will be Boone, Mike Rumping will be Kenton, and John Curry will be Ben Logan. The Lewis and Clark expedition will be represented by Private Shannon, portrayed by his descendant Robert Anderson. Throughout both days these heroes will be relating their stories at the Fairmasters’ tent.

The Fairmasters’ new Marquis Tent will be the center of activity. This year’s Fairmaster and mistress are Bill and Karen Smith.  In addition to the featured frontier heroes, the Liberty Dancers will perform 18th century dances under the tent twice a day. Across from the tent visitors may hire a wagon to give them a tour of the Fair before setting about on foot.

Signora Bella

Rollicking 18th century entertainment can be found all over the fair grounds. Join the audience and share in the hearty laughter beneath Cheapside’s bright flags. Can Dr. Balthasar’s elixir really cure all that ails you? Cringe as you watch Otto the Great, Sword Swallower. Mr. Bailey will work up some magic. The short scenes from Shakespeare that grace the Cheapside stage have made people laugh for centuries. This year an 18th century play will be presented for the first time at the Fair. “The Guardian” is sure to entertain today’s visitors as it did audiences 200 years ago.

The beautiful Signora Bella captivates visitors with her slack rope walking skills. Jim Rose and his Pepito warm the hearts of visitors. Fair Wynds will make you smile and clap to their music. Tim Britton’s pipes will enchant. Musicians, puppet shows, and singers set up in various locations. Keep an eye out for the Ratcatcher. No one knows where or when he will appear. Children will enjoy the colonial era games by the stockade.  Clockwork Clowns can be found on Boston Road near the food booths. 

Be sure to come to the Fair at New Boston with an empty stomach! There is even a bigger variety of colonial era food available this year. Pork chops, turkey legs, sausages, buffalo meat, chicken and noodles, Brunswick Stew, bean soup, corn on the cob, peaches and pound cake, raspberries and cream, creampuffs, bread and butter, pretzels, green beans and potatoes, and much more will delight even the pickiest eaters. 

Beverages can be found in three taverns, The Black Horse, Little John’s, and The Hickory, in addition to the Adam and Eve Coffee House, which is located right in the middle of everything.  In addition to lemonade, ice tea, a sarsaparilla, and bottle water, taverns also serve beer. (Although we claim to be in 1790 - a 21st century ID is still required of guests!)

A short walk down the forest trail by the Black Horse Tavern leads to the newly expanded Woodlands Indian Village. This is particularly appropriate since the Fair is on the former site of two Shawnee villages Peckuwe and Kispoko. Handicrafts, games, and demonstrations of Shawnee, Mingo, Miami, Wyandotte, and other tribes are featured.

Return to the Fair and explore the marketplace and unique shops that surround the public square. Find special treasures you will not find in regular stores. Pottery, herbs, dried flowers, handmade chairs, silhouettes, jewelry, books, lanterns, material, clothing of the frontier era and much more can be found in the tents and booths of more than three dozen merchants and artisans. Watch the soap maker stir up a fragrant new batch. The tinsmith will be making lanterns, while the blacksmiths work on the necessary tools needed by everyone. The lace maker will be making lace while he tells of his need to hire children as indentured servants.

Explore the log stockade, which is a reduced sized replica of the British stockade burned by George Rogers Clark and his men in 1780.

Two militia camps will be full of activity from drilling, and food preparation to regular firing of the cannon manned by the First Mad River Light Artillery. The solid bronze British Light Weight six pounder is an exact copy to the cannon Clark used during the 1780 campaign.

 Every afternoon at 2:15 the cannon will be an exciting part of the military tactical or battle reenactment. 

You will find the Fair at New Boston between Springfield and Fairborn, Ohio, on State Route 4. Gates will open at 10 a.m. - and close at 6 p.m., Rain or Shine.

Admission is $8 for adults, $3 for children aged 6-11, and ages 5 and under are admitted free. Admission for military active duty is $5 with ID. Advanced sale tickets before Aug. 25 are $6 for adults.

Parking is free and plentiful. No pets please. For further information or directions visit or call 937-882-9216.

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