This year’s version of the Waterford Fair will show a new face in more than a few ways.
The event was cancelled last year—for the first time in seven decades—because of dire weather predictions in advance of Hurricane Joaquin.
For this year, Fair Director Tracy Kirkman and the Fair Business Committee have changed the formal name of the event—previously the Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit—to “The Waterford Fair—A Traditional American Crafts and Historic Homes Tour.”
The previous title was created more than 30 years ago to include the homes tour as a formal component of the fair and to emphasize the growing quality of the crafts, but Kirkman said she was delighted to find the simpler title was the original name of the event—and one that most locals continue to use.
“It’s a living history event, but in real life,” Kirkman said.
Kirkman came to the job three months ago. She has an event planning and marketing background. More important from the fair’s point of view is that she’s from a traditional agricultural background and she loves the fair’s emphasis on farming and on educating the public about history and traditional craftsmanship.
There will be 20 new craft demonstrators this year, and Kirkman said the use of Juried Art Services to find good exhibitors is bringing in more artists to apply for the fair.
She lives with her husband and two children on a five-acre vineyard near Lovettsville and hopes to expand the agricultural offerings at this year’s fair.
Rather than bring in a large farm market—“who wants to carry a head of lettuce around the village?”—Kirkman said, this year’s event would focus on value added items, such as cheeses, charcuteries, salsas, honeys and jams. The Wine Tent, which has proved a big success in recent years, will be set up near the Art Mart and Photography Exhibit at the Schooley Mill Barn.
Also new this year, will be demonstrations from 4-H Clubs. Waterford Market owner and sheep owner Linda Landreth has volunteered her sheep for the occasion, and there also will be chickens and rabbits on display.
For visiting kids, in addition to the animals or trying their hand at making a pot, a piece of weaving, or a basket, there’ll be the fun of the Treasure Map, where they’ll have to follow clues such as “Find the blacksmith,” or “find the basket maker.”
Volunteers, as always, are the backbone of the fair, and Kirkman said she is so impressed by their commitment. But there’s always room for more. Those interested in taking a stint or two, should call Kirkman at 540-882-3018.
Kirkman plans to issue information soon about buying advance tickets, which will be through Eventbrite and selected ticket outlets. Tickets are $16 in advance online and $20 at the gate. For more information on this year’s fair, go to waterfordfounation.org and click on Waterford Fair.