Marketfaire and Rifle Frolic, Fort Roberdeau


As advertised.

Let’s be real. If you see a sign advertising something called a Rifle Frolic, you’re going to attend. Especially if you’re in a car with your mom, brother, sister-in-law, and 10-month-old nephew.

Sidebar: This weekend, my brother’s family came to visit, and those of you who don’t know I have a nephew … I’m not sure how you missed this fact. I LOVE being an aunt, as my coworkers patiently listened to me say ad nauseum, and this little guy is such a blast. One of the reasons I moved away from Wisconsin this summer was so I’d get to spend more time with my nephew, and we absolutely bonded this weekend! This morning when my brother carried him upstairs, I told them good morning, and my nephew reached out for me to hold him instead. In other words: I win. #auntoftheyear

I’ll admit, I sort of expected to see guys in 18th-century costumes frolicking about with muskets, which is not what took place, at least not where we were. We headed to Fort Roberdeau for the Marketfaire and scenario reenactment. Life on the frontier was harsh, man, and they reenacted a town founder, William Holliday, riding to the fort for help after an attack that killed all his children. In retaliation, the fort fired on the redcoats in the woods.



That was the downer part of the afternoon. It was a little hard to follow from where we stood, but we couldn’t miss the bursts of gunfire or the boom of the cannon.



The rest was really cool. Vendors had set up several marquees to sell their wares, and since the vendors were staying there all weekend, most of them had little cots set up in the back corner of their sales tents. A few were even staying in the cabins in the fort itself. One soldier we talked to said it’s really quite cozy. Just gotta be careful of the possums.

The vendors were selling lots of old-timey things. You’re going to think that’s all I ever do, after Somerset Mountain Craft Days and the Conrad Weiser Homestead! Maybe it’s just being back in Pennsylvania brings out the historian in me. Because of the Rifle Frolic, we saw a lot of powder horns for sale as well as leather pouches, knives, and assorted hunting paraphernalia.

Pile of horns outside a tent, waiting to be styled into fancy powder horns.

Pile of horns outside a tent, waiting to be styled into fancy powder horns.

Because a

Because a “Visa/Mastercard” sign would have ruined the scene!

At Beathe Knives (Bladesmith, Blacksmith, Apparel, & Possibilities), I couldn’t resist this cuff that called out to me. Mr. Beathe, who sold it to me, suggested he wanted to keep me, which was a little awkward. Especially since my whole family, at that moment, was intent on ignoring me and admiring my nephew. Looks like they can spare me, after all! (Being hit on by older men is kind of a usual thing for me, though, so that branded this event as “official travel,” at least.)

Hand-hammered brasswork. And at $10, a price this poor blogger can afford!

Hand-hammered brasswork. And at $10, a price this poor blogger can afford!

In one corner of the fort, they had a hatchet-throwing competition for the kids.

Because teaching kids how to throw heavy, sharp objects can't possibly go wrong.

Because teaching kids how to throw heavy, sharp objects can’t possibly go wrong.

I’m tempted to ask what on earth they were thinking, but no one got hurt, so no harm, no foul? I guess? Dang, it’s good to be back in PA.

All-in-all, even though I didn’t get to see reenactors dancing with muskets, the Rifle Frolic was well worth attending. Especially because it meant more time with this guy!




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