Sunday, September 23, 2012

Demo at Jefferson Patterson Park

We just returned from an all-day demo at Jefferson Patterson Park at the park's 1812 Fair and Reenactment.   We usually focus on the colonial time period, so we were a bit out of place.  However, the Fair's organizers had seen us demo at other locations and asked us to come -- they didn't mind that our outfits were a bit on the antiquated side!


One of the benefits of doing demos is that we get to meet some incredible folks and get to see some unbelievable places.  And, as we were discussing on the drive home, we also get to eat some wonderful "fair" food.  We're becoming "foodies" of the various fairs -- quite a niche, I'm sure!  In that regard, Jefferson Patterson Park offered some fine crab cake sandwiches! 

We try to demo at places that really appreciate our educational mission, and this demo did not disappoint.  One boy watched intently as Jeff forged and finally asked me if the forge was plugged into the ground as he tried to figure out the power source. What a great opportunity to chat a bit about coal, fire, and, the forge.  Another teenager was so proud of himself when he'd watched Jeff make nails for a few minutes and then figured out that Jeff could cut off the nail from the longer piece of metal and then use that metal for other purposes.  It really is great to be able to educate folks on the art of blacksmithing.

The education is not one-sided, by any means.  We got to learn about the various battles that occurred near the property in 1812 and 1814.  That was exciting because our family was reading up on the War of 1812 this summer, visited the Star Spangled Banner in the Smithsonian, and want very much to visit Fort McHenry soon.   

Although I haven't taken many artistic photos recently and am waiting for inspiration (or time!), I was very excited to meet a photographer who was doing wet plate photography -- something I've never seen in person.  It's a good thing that we don't do 1st person interpretation because I can't help but chat with photographers who come to our demos.  Wet plate photography dates back to the Civil War years and was used by Ansel Adams as well, for a time.  It was absolutely fascinating to see the photographer take Jeff's photo using this method.


All in all, a lovely day.

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