Fort festival celebrates Frontier Heritage
STEUBENVILLE – From Pony Rides for the kids to historical demonstrations for adults, there will be something for everyone at the 2013 Ohio Valley Frontier Days festival at Historic Fort Steuben, June 8-9 in Steubenville.
The 18th Century comes alive as reenactors portray soldiers, surveyors, settlers, and Native Americans recreate life on the Ohio frontier.
Baron von Steuben – the drillmaster of the American Revolution – will train young recruits while the 1st American Regiment shares their history and expertise through displays and presentations of early military life.
Fort Steuben was originally built to protect the surveyors of the Northwest Territory in 1787 and visitors can learn of their successes and difficulties through the exhibits of the historical surveyors, headed by the Geographer of the United States, Thomas Hutchins (aka Prof. Mike Besch of the University of Akron). The 1830 survey stone found last year by ODOT crews while repairing Rt. 7 will be unveiled at 1 p.m. on Saturday and members of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio will be on hand to explain the significance of the marker.
The original Native Americans who inhabited the Ohio Valley will be represented by Chief Logan (Dan Cutler) and Yellow Wolf (Bo Jacobs), and Dystant Thunder Drum who will present traditional music and dance. Native American crafts and jewelry will be on sale.
Frontier skills and games will be on display and everyone can try making hand built pottery and playing Native American games. Boy Scout Troop 47 will be assisting with the Tomahawk Toss. The blacksmith, bucket maker and master carpenter will instruct onlookers on the use of early American tools. Candle maker Beckey Lemasters will offer “make it and take it” activities for young artisans and Pam Keener will provide “7-Minute Portraits”.
Thundering Hooves 4-H Club of Clinton, PA will offer pony rides and photos within the Fort grounds – a treat for both children and their parents.
Vendors will be selling homemade jewelry, embroidered clothing, leather crafts, soy candles, wooden toys, and chainsaw crafts. Inside the Visitor Center, books, maps, toys, and historical games will be sold in the Museum Shop.
Outside the Fort, visitors will be able to send messages around the world through a radio station set up by the Steubenville Weirton Amateur Radio Club.
In the Exhibit Hall, visitors can watch the quilters and chair caner while listening to the lively music of early America. On Saturday, Rich and Kathy Small will sing and play folk songs and music of the period incorporating various acoustic instruments including the Mountain Dulcimer, guitar, autoharp, bowed psaltry, harmonica and various rhythm instruments. They will even have a few extra instruments and will encourage members of the audience to take a quick lesson and play along on a few songs. On Sunday, Bill Schilling and Marcy Tudor will be playing traditional and folk tunes on the dulcimer, mandolin, ukulele, autoharp, recorder, jug and more, also inviting audience participation.
On Saturday only, the ever-popular traditional music of Grammy-nominee singer/songwriter Steve Free will fill the air. Steve has been called an “Ohio Treasure” and “the embodiment of the perennial American folk spirit,” having charted 14 songs in his career. Free combines music of his Native American heritage with his Ohio experience bringing a unique sound to the Festival stage.
Also in the Fort on Saturday only, flintknapper Larry Wonderley will be demonstrating and selling hand chipped points and Native American flutes.
No festival would be complete without food and there will be a variety of taste treats. Enjoy homemade ice cream and floats from Carl Rader and elephant ears, funnel cakes and fried oreos from Ziggy’s. Davis’ Food Express will have a selection of steak, sausage, and fish sandwiches, fries, lemonade and pop while the Steubenville Masonic Temple will offer hot dogs, pop and water.
Tour Guides will be available in all the buildings to explain the history of the Fort, the First Federal Land Office, and life on the Ohio Frontier. Tickets for the 50/50 Raffle add to the fun.
The festivities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for youth 6-12, and free for those under 6. Fort Steuben is located at 120 S.3rd Street in Steubenville. More information and schedules can be found on the Web site: www.oldfortsteuben.com or by calling 740-283-1787.
See this weeks print edition for more local and area events.