Go back in time to colonial Virginia and have fun at the Claude Moore Farm 18th Century Summer Market Fair this weekend.
Over 150 people in period costume demonstrate the arts of spinning and dying raw wool into yarn, quill writing and blacksmithing. There are puppet shows, musicians, 18th century dancing, colonial children’s games – even bobbing for apples. There is something for everyone in the family, said Anna Eberly, director of the farm.
There is also authentic colonial fare available for purchase: spit-roasted rosemary chicken, corn fruit pies and lemonade.
Claude Moore is a fully functioning farm with both livestock and crops. Visitors are welcome to visit the cattle, chickens, turkey, geese and pigs, as well as stroll among the flower garden and crops of tobacco, wheat, rye and flax. The apple orchard has been newly replanted after tree loss due to storm damage.
Annually, between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors attend each Market Fair. There are three a year in May, July and October. Eberly said, “It’s a very pleasant atmosphere. ... It’s an entirely volunteer run event. It’s very popular with the volunteers and the public.”
Most volunteers at the fair come back every year. “People who work at the fair find us. They hear about it through other people," Eberly said. “We don’t advertise for vendors.”
For four years, Heather Bodin has been the livestock manager for the farm. At the fair she works the ticket stand and organizes all the volunteers. She said, "I think the Market Fair is a fantastic place for families to spend a day. The little ones are always fascinated by the animals to see, while the older kids really enjoy the activities whether it's painting their own watercolor fan, making a corn husk doll or participating in a militia muster. Parents love watching the artisans and learning about how the simplest tasks that we take for granted now were accomplished 240 years ago. There really is something for everyone!"
Claude Moore Farm, originally named Turkey Run Farm, was built in 1974 as a replica of a 1771 low-income tenant farm. Prior to the construction of the farm, the National Park Service conducted a survey that revealed both agriculture and low-income individuals were under-represented in existing parks. According to Eberly, “The farm was built to tell a story previously untold.”
Seven years later, Claude Moore, a physician who lived in the McLean area, permanently loaned the farm $250,000. His only caveat was that the farm’s name be changed to honor him. Moore, who grew up on a farm, passed away in 1989.
Privately operated through grants and program fees, the farm has been part of the National Parks Service since 1981 and is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary.
What:18th Century Market Fair, Claude Moore Colonial Farm, 6310 Georgetown Pike. Just behind the CIA Building. (Yes they are watching.)
When: July 16 and 17; 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Admission: adult: $6; children (3-12) and senior citizens: $3.
Additional Information: www.1771.org