18th Century Faire at Riley’s Farm

This July we hosted an 18th Century Faire for the very first time! It was such an adventure, with guest numbers close to 400 3 of the 4 weeks. The other week was about 250, which was great, because we had downpours half the day! The first year we do an event is always a gamble, but this one was well attended, and people really seemed happy to be there and learn about all kinds of 18th Century things. I’m only going to show your our tent, because well, that’s mostly the only place I was! There was lots of other fun stuff going on, I just didn’t see much of it.

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When you come into our tent you are greeted with children’s clothes. We pulled out our stash so the kids could try on breeches and petticoats and whatnot. Next year we may try to have a rental service of some sort, because everyone wanted to keep their 18th Century clothes on and go explore, but we couldn’t let them leave the tent. There were some really cute kids running around in our tent though!

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To the left of the dress up area were some things for sale, pinned to the tent wall. Abi made us 6 bergere (straw) hats, 5 aprons, 3 ladies caps, and 3 men’s caps. We weren’t really a selling tent, but we wanted to have something to offer. We ended up selling 3 bergere (straw) hats and 1 cap on the last day. Everything else we can put into our stock for living historians. Yay for stock! In the middle of the tent we had our two work tables.

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On the end of Abi’s work table we laid out swatches from Burnley and Trowbridge, which had all kinds of 18th Century fabrics for people to touch and feel. There were linens, wools (worsted, melton, coating), cottons, silks, camlets, and some others I don’t remember the name of right now. We also had a project for people to help us with, and earn a slice of pie. We had Katrina Van Tassels gown for Sleepy Hollow ready, and we were hemming trim to add to it. Whoever helped us with hemming trim, got free pie! We also had a Tambour frame, which is a really fun type of embroidery. It’s sort of like crocheting on fabric. We’re hoping to do some pieces with it for plays and filming. On my table we had cockade and breastknot making. This cost one activity ticket, because you got to take it home.

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Behind the activity tables we had Katrina Van Tassels gown, and a banyan, for display. The banyan is one we made for a character in Courage, but we wanted to display some menswear too. This gown will not be worn with the green handkerchief, but I wanted the handkerchief to be seen (I got it for my birthday!). The gown will be trimmed with white organdy, a large flounce on the petticoat, and flatter puffed or pleated trim all around the neckline and down the fronts, and some on the sleeves too of course. Another post about the completed gown will be coming (as soon as it’s done, of course!).

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Behind Jack and Sloey (the dressforms), were our ‘museum’ tables. We decided to display underwear, because every one would see the outerwear on all the people manning the faire. We wanted to show what went underneath, and people tend to ask anyway. So we had another banyan, a man’s shirt, stock, cravat, cap, apron, stockings, and a ladies shift, two pairs of stays, mitts, bibbed apron, caps, pockets, hip rolls, a rump, pocket hoops, stockings.

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At the far end we had a display of cosmetics and beauty products. On the shelves we had a pitcher and basin, with a sponge of course, and towels I made for this display. We featured products from LBCC Historical, because I had seen them several times, and wanted to do this display. They come with lovely period looking labels, and when we got to play with them we were not disappointed. They are lovely products! They smell really good, and she used period recipes to make them. We had lots of people stop in this area to inspect all the goodies. There was face scrub (located by the pitcher and basin of course!), cold cream, lip tint, lip balm, face salve, burnt cloves (for darkening the eyebrows), rouge, body powder…. I also had hair powder and pomatum from Heirloom Haircare. I had my hair pomaded and powdered the entire month of July. I took a class at Costume College about it (from the lady who runs Heirloom Haircare), and apparently I wasn’t using nearly enough pomade or powder. I also wasn’t that itchy before though!

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The products were so cute displayed! I loved that my chatelaine ended up in the mirror when I took this picture. Sneaky little thing!

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Abi and I decided that we needed pictures of our costumes too! We had made them specially for this faire, since most of the time we are in the workshop, and not seen! We both have really old working class outfits that we wear if we are on tour, or we snag something from stock. But for faire, since we were representing fashion, we though we should be a little more in style! I made a pet en lair, or short sack back jacket, worn with a matelasse petticoat I had snagged some time ago off the Courage set. I love this petticoat so much, I didn’t want anyone else to get a hold of it and ruin it….at least that’s my story, and if we need it for filming, I’ll give it back!  Worn with my American Duchess shoes of course, and new stockings (for my birthday! My sisters sure know what I like!).

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Abi made a gown from 1780. It came out really well, and I’ll see if I can get her to do a blog post about it. I think this is the first costume she’s really made for herself, with proper fittings and all. I’m sorry the butt bow is squished in the pictures, but we forgot to fluff it up. She also made a lovely bergere, which I’ll ask her to show in her post. Sorry this is such a long post, but Faire took up most of June to prep, and a lot of July! It was a very fun experience, and I’m sure next year it will be even better!

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