Step 200 years back in time at the 34th Annual Fair at New Boston! Everything about this quality event creates the illusion of time travel to 1790 - 1810.
Your full day of historical adventure will begin with cheering and huzzahs, as the 15 star flag is raised over the Fair ground, at opening ceremonies. Visitors won’t want to miss this entertaining introduction to the Fair. Stay around to hear food vendors brag about the quality of their delicacies and merchants urging the Fairmasters to stop by their booths.
Fairgoers will have a hard time deciding where to turn next. There is so much to do!
Grand Camera Obscura
Near the entrance an oddly shaped tent will most likely be first to catch your attention. It’s the Grand Camera Obscura. Fair attendees can be among a relatively fortunate few who can enjoy this historical scientific attraction, which is just like the one seen in Paris more than 200 years ago. Step into the round tent and be prepared to be amazed.
Artisans, and Merchants
Find special treasures in the New Boston Market that you will not find in regular stores. Explore the unique shops that surround the public square. Pottery, herbs, dried flowers, handmade chairs, silhouettes, soaps, jewelry, books, lanterns, material, glassware, clothing of the frontier era and much more can be found in the tents and booths of merchants and artisans.
The tinsmith will be making lanterns, while the blacksmiths work on the necessary tools needed by everyone. Learn how linen is made. Spinning wheels are busy getting ready for the cold weather that is not far away. It is never too early to start Holiday shopping!
The Fair at New Boston hot air balloon will be launched from the front of the market area if weather cooperates. Made out of paper and ink this balloon demonstrates how man first got a view from above more than 200 years ago.
Scheduled throughout the day you will find a variety of frontier folks ready to tell their stories; Simon Kenton, Daniel Boone, Eva Lail, and Mad Anne Bailey. This is a great spot to sit on benches in the shade. Twice each day, the Liberty Dancers will demonstrate dances of the time period enjoyed by many of the founding fathers and mothers. Visitors will be given an opportunity to join in.
Entertainment at Cheapside
Need to rest your feet? Join the audience and share in the hearty laughter at Cheapside Theater. Can Dr. Balthasar’s elixir really cure all that ails you?
This year a 17th century play will be presented for the first time. The comedy is called Tartuffe, by Moliere, and is sure to fill Cheapside with laughter. This presentation is sure to entertain today’s visitors as it did audiences in 1664. Whether you stay for a few scenes or watch the entire play, this presentation of theater 200 years ago promises to be fun.
Entertainment can be found throughout the Fair. The beautiful Slack Rope Walker has captivated visitors for years. Puppets, magicians, and balladeers set up in various locations throughout the day.
Food and Beverages
Thirsty visitors will find beverages in three taverns, The Black Horse, Littlejohn’s, and the Hickory, in addition to the Dancing Goats 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 1800 - a 21st century ID is still required of guests!)
Come hungry to the Fair! Enjoy frontier foods prepared as they were back then. Pork chops, turkey legs, sausages, buffalo meat, chicken and noodles, bean soup, corn, peaches and pound cake, raspberries and cream, creampuffs, bread and butter, pies, green beans and potatoes, cheese bits, and much more will delight even the pickiest eaters.
Woodland Indian Village
After stuffing yourself, follow the drums down a forest trail to visit the growing 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. In the middle of each day Tecumseh will visit. This is also one of the coolest places to enjoy on a hot sunny day.
Music was enjoyed in 1800 in many different forms then as it is now. Relax in a historic tavern while listening to music of the era. Musicians playing violins, mandolins, guitars, and even bagpipes move from tavern to tavern and rove throughout the area. The coffeehouse is as center of entertainment and a quiet place where you can enjoy a game of checkers or chess.
Battle Re-enactment and Cannon
Thrill to the boom of the full-sized Revolutionary War cannon. The Mad River Light Artillery sets up there bronze British Light six-pounder at the top of the hill near the flagpole and militia encampment. This group will demonstrate cannon firing many times throughout the day.
Each afternoon features the excitement of a battle reenactment! Since we are observing the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 we will be focusing on battles of that time period. Our reenactment features militia on foot and on horses, cannons, Shawnee warriors, and Crown troops. It always promises to be exciting. After the battle be sure to visit the militia camps on the hill between Hertzler House and the George Rogers Clark Memorial. The First Mad River Light Artillery near the flag pole will be available to answer questions.
Premier Living History Event
There is time after the battle to finish shopping, get something to eat and catch another of the entertainers. But wait – is that a duel on the other side of the fort? Oh dear…Be sure to see the closing ceremonies at the end of the day.
There is so much to do at the Fair at New Boston that many visitors come back for a second day of fun on Sunday.
Why is the Fair at New Boston recognized as a premiere living history event? All the music, entertainment, clothing, methods of cooking, foods served, merchandise booths, and equipment used by the artisans are juried (or judged) to assure authenticity to the period. It is also special because it is held on an actual historic site. The site of the Battle of Peckuwe and the Shawnee villages of Peckuwe and Kispoko and later the town of New Boston. All are now gone and are replaced by George Rogers Clark Park.
Directions, Admission, and Contact InformationYou will find the Fair at New Boston just west of Springfield on State Route 4. Gates will open at 10 a.m. - and close at 6 p.m., Rain or Shine. (See “Directions” on this website for detailed directions.)
Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for children aged 6-11, and ages 5 and under are admitted free. Admission for military active duty is $7 with ID. Presale tickets are available here. No pets please.Parking is free and plentiful. For further information call 937-882-9216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.