FestiFall 2012 Features Family Fun for History Buffs of All Ages
Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-8131
Point Marion, Pa. - Visitors to FestiFall 2012 will once again be transported back in time to life in the "Western Country" from 1786 to 1832, when American statesman Albert Gallatin maintained his Fayette County estate high on the cliffs above the Monongahela River in New Geneva. FestiFall runs Saturday, September 22, and Sunday, September 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Friendship Hill National Historic Site and features period demonstrators, craftsmen, food, music, a small military encampment, and hands-on activities for children.It is sponsored annually by the Friendship Hill Association and the National Park Service.
Guests will also be able to tour a new exhibit on loan from the Library of Geneva, Switzerland."Albert Gallatin, a Genevan at the Heart of the American Dream" opened in July and traces Gallatin's timeline from birth to death, noting the ways in which his early life as part of a wealthy and influential Swiss family informed his roles in U.S. history. Gallatin, who is best known for his service as Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Jefferson and Madison, also founded the American Ethnological Society in 1842 to help preserve Indian languages and culture that were rapidly disappearing.
Park Superintendent Jeff Reinbold invites visitors to "come tour the furnished Gallatin mansion, view the new exhibit, and enjoy the wonderful variety of traditional foods. You'll have the chance to talk with craft demonstrators, listen to the live musical performances, and since this is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, hear a Ranger discuss Gallatin and the War of 1812 and inspect historic weapons displays."
Craftsmen and demonstrators will be set up along a traditional Main Street and on the wide porches of the historic house. Anchorin the east end of Main Street will be "shops" selling the usual country fare of roast beef sandwiches, ham and bean soup, cornbread, home baked white bread, apple butter, sugar biscuits, molasses cookies, root beer and old fashioned apple cider.
Special activities for children will be offered at the opposite end of the street. These include butter churning, applesauce making, candle dipping, corn shucking, apple bobbing, and nature art and corn husk doll craft. Parent Teacher Organizations throughout the Albert Gallatin Area School District are cooperating with Friendship Hill Association to sponsor these activities as well as dance demonstrations, poetry readings, and music performed by AGSD students. Children from throughout the region are invited to come participate.
Other popular attractions at FestiFall are a frontier wedding, guided hikes, and live music. Entertaining on stage will be the Greene County Dulcimer Players, The Sutton Family, and Falling Run Band featuring Ray Hicks, the West Virginia Dulcimer Dames, and singer Amy Randolph.Evan Kovach and Richard MacKenzie will be performing a selection of flute and bassoon pieces in and around the mansion.
In addition to the many vendors and programs being presented by the Friendship Hill Association, National Park Rangers will be conducting programs detailing military life during the War of 1812.The programs will include a display on the evolution of military firearms from the Gallatin period to the present. These programs will include discussions on daily soldier life, uniforms, cooking, and camp life.
Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. there will be a traditional church service on the east porch of the mansion. Pastor Scott Teets of Fallen Timbers Community Chapel will preside.
Beth Reseter is president of the Friendship Hill Association, a nonprofit group whose mission is to support the National Park Service at Friendship Hill National Historic Site.She encourages local residents and area visitors to plan on attending this year's event, the longest running, free fall festival in the region."Join us on Saturday as young Albert Gallatin and his bride Hannah host the festivities or come out on Sunday to meet a more elderly Gallatin as he discusses government, politics, and his role in ending the War of 1812.We bring history to life for the entire family."
Shuttle service from the parking area is provided for those needing assistance.The Gallatin House is handicapped accessible and there are convenient public restrooms. Friendship Hill National Historic Site is located on Route 166 between Point Marion, PA and New Geneva, PA.For more information contact the National Park Service at 724-725-9190 or visit friendshiphillassociation.org.
Did You Know?
Although Albert Gallatin was an ardent abolitionist, he did buy a slave in Virginia by the name of Charlotte Smith. As he was negotiating her purchase, he was also working with a lawyer on the legal act of manumission to change her slavery to an indenture.