Village Faire set at Newell House
Newell Pioneer Village will lend its third-annual nod to the U.S. Constitution with an event to educate today's citizens on the enduring impact the country's founding document continues to have on their lives.
The event, called Village Faire and set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 15, will coincide with Constitution Week, which will be celebrated this year Sept. 17-23.
"We try to (come) as close as we can to Constitution Week, but we are hitting it a little early this year doing the Village Faire on the 15th," Newall Museum director Ellen Crauthers said. "What we want to do is to invite the community to come in and experience life as a pioneer."
Re-enactors will relive the pioneer life of the mid-1800s, with local artisans, music, food and drinks. Meg Graf will play old time fiddle music for entertainment and the fair will have snacks and drinks for sale.
Members of the Lincoln High School Constitution Team will speak and wander among the crowd to answer questions about the document. Lincoln, located in southwest Portland, is the oldest public high school in Oregon at 150 years and its students will also speak of the history of the school.
The fair will also feature a soap maker who will demonstrate the craft, but not in the traditional style because of safety concerns.
"It … was a really dangerous part of pioneer life because of the lye," Crauthers said. "It is so dangerous. Now you have to put on glasses and gloves; back then they didn't have that."
The celebration is for the entire family with a lot of hands-on history for the kids. A local spinning guild will be on hand. Candle dipping and old toys from that era will be available to handle and braided rug weaving will be demonstrated. Visitors can test their skills by washing laundry with a wash board, then try out an old-time iron, which was typically heated with fire.
"If they would have had a fireplace, the little iron would be placed on the trivet that would be in the coals or somewhere above it and you would be lucky if you had two to get one warm while using the other one …," Crauthers said. "They didn't have ironing boards back then, they used boards, probably laying over two chairs or something."
"Nothing was easy for a pioneer," she added. "You're making everything from scratch and the clothing you may have had to make from scratch, even though you could order your material to be shipped over. Your choices were not going to be great and if you were the youngest child in the family, you probably would wear everyone's clothes until it was worn out. Then they would make a quilt out of it; they never threw anything away."