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Court Day to combine historic traditions and modern artisans

Cheryl Davis and Mike Lyman dressed in 18th-century costumes at last year’s Lancaster Court Day.

The 4th Annual Lancaster Court Day Arts, Crafts and History Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, rain or shine, outdoors at the Mary Ball Washington (MBW) Museum and Library, 8346 Mary Ball Road, Lancaster.

This free, family-friendly event offers a variety of history and heritage activities along with a marketplace of arts and crafts, ranging from traditional to contemporary. 

“A main goal of our Court Day festival is to provide fun, exciting, and interactive ways to share information about local history,” said executive director Karen Hart. “The event is also about bringing the community together, just like the true court days of the past, for all kinds of commerce and entertainment.”

Court Day opens with the Star-Spangled Banner, in a tribute to the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. Lancaster High School band director Robbie Spiers will then give a short talk about the song’s origins in the War of 1812.  Later, from 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m., the group Ampersand will perform lively tunes from the 18th and early 19th centuries.   

“The festival offers something for everyone and it continues to grow every year,” said Hart. “This year we have more activities, especially for children and families.  For example, kids can play with colonial toys, write with a quill and ink, take photos in period hats and bonnets, make a family tree, go on a museum scavenger hunt, visit a Civil War soldier’s camp, and take part in old-fashioned games like sack races and hoop rolling. We encourage parents and grandparents to join in, too.”

Visitors of all ages can tour the Old Clerk’s Office, Old Jail, and Lancaster House exhibit galleries, and view displays from other Northern Neck museums and community organizations. People can also get help with family history research in the MBW Library and shop the used book sale in the genealogy tent. The Attic Treasures booth, new this year, features a second-hand sale of quality antiques, collectibles, and decorative items donated by friends of the museum.

Shoppers at Court Day also will find dozens of artisan booths with paintings, photography, sewing, embroidery, doll clothes, woodwork, stained glass, jewelry, hair accessories, scarves, blankets, ponchos, ornaments, soaps, home fragrances, and more. Some vendors continue traditional art forms, like Billie Letts who draws and cuts personalized silhouettes. Others, like jewelry designer Lily Swann, create their own modern craft styles. 

Gourmet foods such as wines from Good Luck Cellars and goat cheeses from Lovers Retreat Dairy will be for sale and Cora Tiggle of Cora’s Kitchen will offer hot concessions. Her menu includes biscuits and sausage for breakfast and burgers and crab cakes for lunch. The Lancaster Tavern restaurant will be open all day. 

posted 04.02.2014

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