Have you ever wondered what a Northern Virginia spring was like for colonists? Take a trip back in time and celebrate the season the old-fashioned way by attending Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s 18th Century Spring Market Fair this Sunday, May 22. The fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will boast myriad booths, games, food, entertainment and fun for the entire family.
The 18th Century Spring Market Fair has provided an interactive window into the past since 1983. It seeks to bring learning to life by embodying life on a farm in colonial America. As a result, visitors from all around the world travel to attend this popular Virginia event. Despite the massive draw, the fair’s five-hour runtime ensures you won’t have to wade through dense crowds. Plus, Claude Moore Colonial Farm hosts two more fairs every year: The summer edition will take place July 16-17, while the final fair of the year will ring in autumn from Oct. 15-16. The Spring Market Fair, however, is only a one-day affair on Sunday. Saturday’s festivities have been canceled due to predicted inclement weather.
This year, for its 32nd anniversary, the fair will debut a paper-marbling vendor. Volunteers dressed in authentic attire will run booths where you can buy a variety of soaps, candles, herbs, flowers and 18th-century clothing and jewelry. In addition to colonial souvenirs, visitors have a vast array of options for lunch: spit-roasted chicken, sausages, seasonal vegetables, cheeses and breads, roasted olives, fruit pies and cakes. The Tavern will also offer a wide range of refreshments such as authentic cask ale, beer, wine, fresh ginger ale and lemonade—just to name a few.
In addition to the vendor market, visitors can experience the colonial way of life by speaking to and observing volunteers of all ages. “When people attend the market, you are literally stepping back in time because our volunteers are not only in costume, they are also in character,” says Claude Moore Farm spokesperson Vicki Baker. These volunteers will be out and about demonstrating candle-making and spinning, as well as preparing the foods for sale.
Guests can visit the fair’s heritage breed Ossabaw pigs, chickens and turkeys—and be sure to keep an eye peeled for Boy, the Bookstore’s mascot cat, while listening to period music playing throughout the market. For children, there will also be a puppet theater show and many colonial-themed games and activities such as making a corn husk doll.
Parking for the event is free at the entrance near the Gate House Gift Shop and along the access road. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children ages 3-12. Children under 3 years old can enter for free.
So, instead of planting yourself in front of the TV for the Nationals’ game against the Miami Marlins this Sunday, go to Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s 18th Century Spring Market Fair for affordable family fun that will ultimately prove to be priceless.