18th Century Trades Fair in Highland County Opens September 1


The second annual 18th Century Trades Fair begins on Friday in Highland County.  The event is hosted by Tim Duff and his wife Terry at their home, Fair Lawn Farm.

“We’re focusing on the trades of the 18th century,” says Duff.  “You’ll be seeing everything from blacksmiths, to riflesmiths, to spinners, weavers.  Many of the trades that were commonplace in the 18th century, which are no longer in existence.  You’ll see them all being demonstrated right in front of you.  Some of these trades haven’t been done for 150 years.  Some of the trades actually died out by the 1830’s.  Well, we’re going back to the 1750’s to show you where it all began.”

Thirty-four tradesmen will be attending and Duff says they are experts in their fields, having worked at various locations such as Williamsburg, Jamestown and Mount Vernon.

“I’ve had the interest since I was a young teenager,” says Duff.  “I’ve been building rifles, building powder horns, building pistols, all 18th century style, for the last 35 or 40 years and I’ve attended these events.”

Attending these events has shaped how Duff has organized his Trades Fair.  His event will not focus only on gunsmiths.  There will be varied offerings that will appeal to all family members, including children.

“They want to show off their crafts,” says Duff.  “In most cases, they will let the public come around the table.  They can pick up the tools, they can handle the tools, the finished product.  They can help make products while they’re here also, which you don’t normally see elsewhere.”

The 18th Century Trades Fair is Friday, September 1, through Sunday, September 3.  Hours are 12pm to 5pm Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday.

“We have the former master gunsmith from Williamsburg,” says Duff.  “He came last year, not as an exhibitor, but just to witness the event.  I spoke to him and I said ‘What brings you all the way from the Tidewater area for my little first-time event?’   His comment was ‘With the quality of the people that you have amassed, this exceeds Williamsburg.  How did you do it?’  I said ‘Well, these are friends of mine.  I’ve known them for, in some cases, upwards of 35 or 40 years and it just happened.’   But, he was shocked.  Even though they are very, very esteemed within their trade, they are extremely approachable.  They want the novice, they want that teenager, they want the husband or the wife that isn’t even sure what they’re looking at, they want them to pick up their product.  They don’t care if they make a sale.  They are interested in passing on the knowledge.”

Admission to the 18th Century Trades Fair is $7 for a one-day pass and $15 for a weekend pass.   Tickets will be available at the gate.    The Trades Fair is held at Fair Lawn Farm located at 3118 Mill Gap Road.

For more information, call 540-468-3094 or go to the website, https://visitfairlawnfarm.com

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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