The Schoharie County Historical Society announced that a New York Council for the Humanities grant award will bring "Benjamin Franklin" and other characters from the past to the Stone Fort History Fair on Saturday and Sunday. Franklin will join re-enactors and enthusiasts at the Old Stone Fort Museum for the Columbus Weekend event that alternates annually with the Stone Fort Days Revolutionary War re-enactment.
Military and civilian re-enactors, historic tradesmen and crafters, collectors, authors and local historians fill the grounds of the Stone Fort Museum Complex with activities for entire weekend. The Golden Fleece Spinner and Weaving Guild will demonstrate early technologies that once were part of everyone's daily life _ spinning, weaving and quilting, and machines powered by the Hudson Mohawk Chapter Pioneer Gas Engines perform farm chores such as making cider and pumping water.
The Humanities Council funding makes it possible to bring in the guests for the weekend, presenters said.
Ben Franklin, portrayed by Jack Sherry, will make several presentations about his life, politics and scientific experiments, and he will be available to meet fair visitors throughout the two-day event. Rob Roy MacGregor, an 18th century Scottish patriot (aka Scott Ian Berry) will discuss the role of swords in Scottish culture using his vast collection. Cliff Mealy will depict Jack, a slave of the Mabee family, and talk about his adventures in the French & Indian War. John Quinn and the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers will perform a program of the "Greatest Hits of the Sixties," songs known and loved by all Civil War-era Americans. Mike Tarbell, Mohawk educator at the Iroquois Indian Museum, will be teach the finer points of throwing an atlatl, one of the most deadly weapons in precontact North America.
Schoharie author Frank Meredith will sign copies of his new book, "The Unfinished Work," and will talk about his research with original documents to write about the Battle of Gettysburg. Scott Ian Barry will also sign his latest book, "New York Castles. "
Historic games for children (with prizes for all) are scheduled from 1to 3 daily. Additional entertainment will be provided by the TLC Country Cloggers and Rural Felicity. Food is available on site, catered by the George Mann Tory Tavern.
History Fair is underwritten by NBT Bank with additional sponsorships from Donna M. Lavigne Agency, Schoharie Valley Farms, Shaul Roofing, Sterling Insurance Company, and Stewart's Shops. Special performances of historic characters are made possible by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.
History Fair is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7. Children younger than 17 are admitted free.
The Old Stone Fort Museum Complex is at 145 Fort Road in Schoharie, just off state Route 30, two miles south of Interstate 88 Exit 23. For more information, call (518) 295-7192 or visit www.theOldStoneFort.org.