by Lorraine Payette, written August 24, 2013
(MALLORYTOWN, ONTARIO) The 4th Mallorytown Village Fair, held on the grounds at the Mallorytown Community Centre, proved that once you’ve found the right formula, you just keep getting better and better.
Over 500 people came out to enjoy a step back in time on August 24 as vendors and entertainers, costumed interpreters and skilled craftspeople came out to let everyone see just how wonderful a time you can have. Perfect weather enhanced the day, and people of all ages found something to keep them happy at the fair.
“This is our fourth annual fair, and we’ve tried to keep it so that it’s a fun, affordable day for families and for people to com and relax and enjoy the music and these lovely gardens,” said Sandra Wells of the committee. “Each year we try to add something new. This year we’ve added a blacksmith to do demonstrations and sell some of the items that he makes, we had some vintage cars out front, horse and wagon rides for people, and everything is free other than whatever food they want to purchase. We had artists and vendors in the gardens. The crowds have been very, very good today. The weather has certainly been a bonus – not too hot with a nice breeze every now and again, and I can only say as part of the committee, we’re really happy with today.”
An overwhelming success, the event offered market vendors, artists/artisans/crafts, heritage craft demonstrations, displays and vintage children’s activities in addition to a great pancake breakfast, competitions, displays, horse-drawn wagon rides and live entertainment. Booths and activities were carefully laid out along the beautiful tree lined space, and live music was presented in the bandstand. Different old fashioned skills were on display, among them a woman making delicate bobbin lace and a working blacksmith.
Catherine Blatch was working at a large rounded cushion, busily creating dainty lace with a number of threaded bobbins, following a carefully laid out design marked on a thin strip of paper.
“I like using a fine thread for making my lace,” said Blatch. “It really isn’t very difficult, you just have to remember where you are in the pattern, and then just move and twist the threads. The cushion is filled with sawdust to hold the pins in place.”
She had several samples of her work with her, all beautiful in their simplicity, and ready to edge a gown, handkerchief, or other special garment.
Formerly with Parks Canada, Don MacKay now runs a business called Forged in Canada. He brought his portable forge with him and showed amazed onlookers just how quickly he could turn an iron rod into a useful tool or a work of art.
“I do demonstrations and custom work,” said MacKay, whose business is located between Perth and Westport, Ontario. “The metal blower on the forge is the next generation after the bellows that was used in Upper Canada. They were made out of leather and wood, double-chambered, and then they started making these new ones in the 1860s. This particular one was made in 1901.
“The other system that I use is a Japanese box bellows. It’s been modified by the same type of bellows that the Japanese use to make Samurai swords. You wouldn’t have found them in Upper Canada or Canada, but this is easier to operate and much cheaper to make.”
These were only two of the amazing talents on hand, and next year promises to bring even more. To learn more about the Fair, please go to http://mallorytownvillagefair.blogspot.ca/ .