2018 Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair
Journey to the past at the 24th Annual Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair on April 26-29, 2018 at Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool, Maryland. The Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair features the best period artisans, craftspeople, and sutlers together with an 18th Century encampment. Explore Maryland’s French and Indian War era stone fort built in 1756. See hundreds of reenactors and 18th century sutlers (vendors) selling 18th C. period wares: paintings and prints, clothing and fabric, books, camp gear, muskets, fireplace and cooking hardware, lanterns, copperware, etc. Attend the Auction on Saturday for great buys on items donated by the sutlers.
Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair
Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair is hosted by the “Friends of Fort Frederick” in partnership with the staff of Fort Frederick State Park. To get to the Market Fair, take exit 12 (MD 56) off of I-70, about 15 minutes west of Hagerstown. Hours are Thursday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; and Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Entrance fees are: Adults – $5, Children 6 to 12 – $2, Children 5 and under – Free. 4-Day Passes are available – contact the Visitor Center at 301-842-2155.
When this event began in 1994, the Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair had much more of a rendezvous flavor. Participants portrayed time periods from the 1600s through the end of the mountain-man era in the 1840s, and even Plains-style teepee camps were common. In 2003, responsibility for organizing the event shifted from a regional blackpowder club to the Friends of Fort Frederick, who decided to honor the history of the region and limit the time period for portrayals to the 18th century.
9:00 am – 5:00 pm Thursday through Saturday
9:00 am – 3:00 pm on Sunday
Adults – $5.00
Ages 6 to 12 – $2.00
Ages 5 and Under – free
4-day passes available; contact the Park Visitor Center at 301-842-2155.
Fort Frederick State Park
11100 Fort Frederick Road
Big Pool, MD 21711
The Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair is a juried event. All clothing, camping gear and equipment used by participants must be appropriate to the time period from 1730 to 1790. Vendors must also meet these standards, both in their clothing and equipment, and in the wares offered for sale. First-time vendors are vetted in advance by the Friends of Fort Frederick Trade Committee before they are allowed to participate.
The 18th-century timeframe is in keeping with the event’s venue. The centerpiece of Fort Frederick State Park is a massive stone fortification that was built in 1756, after the defeat of General Braddock exposed the western colonial frontier to attacks by the French and their native allies.
During the Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair, a contingent of reenactors portraying French and Indian War-era Maryland provincial troops man the fort, live in the barracks and provide interpretive events for visitors. These men portray members of Alexander Beall’s and Joshua Beall’s companies of Maryland forces. During the Market Fair, the troops have a schedule of exhibitions that they perform. You can watch marching demonstrations, flag-raising ceremonies or demonstrations of 18th-century military music.
Civilian reenactors and living historians of every type that you could have found in 18th-century society can be found at the Market Fair. Most of the campers portray typical frontier types, dressing and equipping themselves as hunters or scouts. There is also a large contingent that prefers to portray the higher strata of colonial society, so that, among the rough-and-tumble long hunters you’ll find powdered-wig aristocrats and evening-gowned ladies. There are also quite a few reenactors who portray Native Americans of the period.
Rogers’ Rangers at the Market Fair
Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair also serves as one of the largest gatherings of Rogers’ Rangers reenactors. Roger’s Rangers started as an independent company of light troops. Their job was to serve as scouts and skirmishers that operated well forward of conventional troops, harassing the French and securing intelligence. They performed their work so well that, by the end of the war, Robert Rogers was a major leading a small battalion of his Rangers, and the Rangers were the chief scouting unit for the British forces. Rogers’ Rangers are the direct ancestors of our modern U.S. Army Rangers.
Today, Rogers’ Rangers are primarily reenacted by members of Jaeger’s Battalion. Jaeger’s Battalion is a national, colonial period historical reenactment group headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is one of the oldest reenacting groups in the country. The battalion serves as the umbrella group for the various state-based Ranger companies. At the Market Fair you will usually see Battalion Adjutant Bill Blair leading companies from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and sometimes companies from much farther afield.
Colonial Commerce – It’s why you’re here!
The fort and the military reenactors are a major part of the event, but the main draw at the Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair is the vendors. Expect about 150 vendors to set up shop selling their 18th-century goods. Events like this are essential to reenactors and living historians who need to outfit themselves with period-correct gear.
In addition to craftsmen, there are vendors who offer the full range of 18th-century essentials. At Market Fair, you can fully outfit your person with 18th-century apparel from several excellent tailors. You could also buy every item you would need to outfit a comfortable camp, from the tent all the way down to a colonial pot scrubber. And you can pick up all the muzzleloading gear you need, from a custom rifle or musket to a handmade powder horn or a custom shooting bag. And, if you don’t need any big-ticket items, you’ll find a full range of small items like cleaning jags and forged screwdrivers.
In addition to the formal vendors, you’ll find many reenactors offering a variety of gear for sale on informal “trade blankets”. Any camper may set up a blanket in front of their camp and offer goods for sale to passersby.
About Fort Frederick
Fort Frederick was one of the largest frontier fortifications built during the French and Indian War. It occupies an area of 1.5 acres, and it was built to stand up to a major military assault. The fort’s massive stone walls are 4.5 feet thick at the base. Inside the fort, two large barracks buildings face each other across the parade ground. The fort is open and inside the walls you can tour the two barracks buildings. They are furnished with sleeping quarters, workshops and offices, just as they would have been during the mid-18th century.
Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss the next Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair in April (weekend from Thursday to last Sunday of month) at Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool, Maryland.
Tags: Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair, 18th Century Market Fair, Colonial Market Fair