FestiFall 08 Features American Indian Historic Lifeways

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Date: September 10, 2008
Contact: ToniL’Hommedieu  - Friendship Hill Association, 724-569-4403
Contact: Kitty Seifert, 724-725-9190
Contact: Tom Markwardt, 724-329-2013

POINT MARION, Pa. FestiFall 2008 will feature historic Native American cultural demonstrations. The annual event at Friendship Hill National Historical Site is a celebration of the life and times of Albert Gallatin, the original owner of Friendship Hill. FestiFall 2008 will also include demonstrations of the eighteenth century home skills and crafts as well as demonstrations of muskets used for defense and hunting.

The Friendship Hill Association has sponsored FestiFall for twenty-six years. Last year, they expanded the popular event to two days and added a market fair. "The Market Fair gives people a chance to take small pieces of historic culture home with them," said Toni L’Hommedieu, President of the Friendship Hill Association. FestiFall will continue with a full weekend event this year, open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., September 27 and 28.

The smells of soup cooked over an open fire, period music, and historic artisans will all help transport back to the time when Gallatin and his family made their home at the edge of the wilderness in Western Pennsylvania. Gallatin is best known for his years of service as Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Jefferson and Madison. A statue of Albert Gallatin stands in front of the US Treasury Department building in Washington, DC attesting to his value as a Treasurer in the early years of the Republic.

The Gallatin House is furnished with pieces from the Arlington House in Washington DC. Take the time to wonder through the rooms of period furniture. Also, be sure to view the video presenting Albert Gallatin’s impact on our nation. This is a great way for visitors to understand the importance of Albert Gallatin and South Western Pennsylvania in the growth of the nation.

Plan to eat lunch under the trees on the lawn outside the Mansion. Historic food will be offered by the Friendship Hill Association members. Ham and Bean soup, pulled beef sandwiches, lemonade, root beer, cider, corn bread and fresh baked bread will be available for purchase as well as sugar and molasses cookies.

Presenters dressed in traditional clothing will explain the history and lifeways of native people through demonstrations and involvement. Ghost in the Head, of Huron descent, exhibits an interactive public display of native materials and crafts. Visitors can learn about native games by participating in those led by Shining Spirit, who is of Cherokee ancestry. Two Feather (Dr. Kinorea Tigri), also of Cherokee descent, will cook and discuss traditional gardens and foods.

"Our hope is people will enjoy themselves and gain an understanding of the Native American contributions in this region. Gallatin was so interested in the Native American culture, he became a founder of the American Ethnological Society" said MaryEllen Snyder, the Chief of Visitor Services at Friendship Hill National Historic Site.

The market fair this year features more historic craft demonstrators. Quilters, coopers, pewter casters, soap makers, leather workers, seamstress, furniture maker, rug braiders and many more will showcase their talents. Amusements, including period music and flower head garlands will also be a part of the celebration.

Re-enactors portraying late 18th century military life will also be on hand. At 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30 each day, rangers will present programs on the roles of Gallatin and the Pennsylvania Militia in the War of 1812. These programs will end with firing demonstrations of historic flintlock weapons. Gallatin arrived in Boston at the end of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and served as an American envoy to negotiate of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812.

Even with the expanded program, admission to the event remains free. Shuttle service from the parking area to the knoll is provided for those needing assistance. The Gallatin house is handicap accessible with restrooms. Animals must be on leashes.

The Friendship Hill Association is a non-profit group whose mission is to support the National Park Service at Friendship Hill National Historic Site. They are sponsoring the event in cooperation with The National Park Service. If you are interested in being a part of FestiFall or joining the Friendship Hill Association, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities. Toni L’Hommedieu will welcome your call! She can give you information of the type of help needed. Please call Toni at 724-569-4403 or e-mail her at tlhomme1942@yahoo.com.

Friendship Hill National Historic Site is located on Rt. 166 between Point Marion, PA and New Geneva, PA. For further information contact the National Park Service at (724) 725-9190.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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