Step 200 years back in time at the 35th Annual Fair at New Boston and watch history come alive!
Your full day of historical adventure will begin with cheering and huzzahs, as the 15 star flag is raised over the Fairground at the 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!
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, fabric, 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: Daniel Boone, Chief Black Hoof, and George Rogers Clark. 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 and Beyond
Need to rest your feet? Join the audience and share in the hearty laughter at Cheapside Theater. Can Dr. Balthasar’s elixir really cure for all that ails you?
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
Come hungry to the Fair! Enjoy frontier foods authentically prepared. Scotch eggs, smoked turkey legs, chicken legs, shredded beef, pork sausage on a stick, bison on a bun, ham on a biscuit, shredded chicken on a roll, spiced roast beef, bread with flavored butter & jam, chicken and noodles, Carolina rice, green beans and potatoes, garlic mushrooms in wine, ham & beans, New Brunswick stew, and apples & cheese will delight even the pickiest eaters. For desserts choose from peaches and pound cake, raspberries and cream, pies, or vanilla ice cream with plum sauce. New this year are strawberry crepes - good any time of day!
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 bottled water, taverns also serve beer. (Although we claim to be in 1797, a 21st century ID is still required of guests!)
Native American Village
After fulfilling your appetite, follow the drums down a forest trail to visit the growing Woodlands Indian Village. 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. Learn how food was prepared in camp. This is also one of the shadiest places to come on a hot, sunny afternoon.
Music was enjoyed in 1797 in many different forms, 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 a center of entertainment and a 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 their 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. Our reenactment features militia on foot and on horse, cannons, Shawnee warriors, and Crown troops. After the battle, 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. You will also want 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 ensure authenticity to the period. It is also special because it is held on an historic site. George Rogers Clark Park was the site of the Battle of Peckuwe, the Shawnee villages of Peckuwe and Kispoko, and the frontier town of New Boston. The Fair at New Boston is our way of remembering our history.
Directions, Admission, and Contact InformationYou will find the Fair at New Boston just west of Springfield on State Route 4. Gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m., Rain or Shine. See “Directions” on this website for detailed driving directions.
Tickets will go on sale when we get closer to the 2018 event.