Experience the Port Oneida Fair 2016

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Date: May 17, 2016

Step back in time to 1916 during this year’s Port Oneida Fair (Fair) to help celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. History comes alive at six historic sites during the annual Fair at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore), Friday and Saturday, August 12-13, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In addition to the many popular demonstrations, animals, and exhibits, the Fair will feature a chicken dinner on Friday, August 12, and end with solar viewing and an astronomy party on Saturday night, August 13. This two-day special event is free. Discover the new presentations and activities for 2016 throughout the Fair. Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun.  

The Port Oneida Fair is presented by the National Lakeshore in partnership with Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. The Fair promotes the preservation of rural traditional skills, crafts, landscapes, and communities of the Upper Great Lakes Region through education, artistic expression, and the development of a coalition of community organizations. The Port Oneida Rural Historic District contains 19 historic farms (four privately owned), more than 300 buildings, and over 3,000 acres of land.  In addition to the farmhouses, barns, and wonderful variety of specialized outbuildings, the historic district contains the fields, orchards, fence rows, roads, cemetery, forest and other elements that make up the historic landscape. Port Oneida is the largest publicly owned intact historic agricultural district in the United States.  

Each August, amid the pastoral setting of meadows, maples, barns, farmhouses, and corncribs, the Port Oneida Rural Historic District awakens from its peaceful slumber and comes alive with activity true to the period when it was a community of robust farms. Visitors are invited to step back in time to experience life as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. People can take a shuttle, drive, hike, or bike to six unique historic sites where a variety of activities take place. Over 80 demonstrators will be at the Thoreson, Olsen, Burfiend, Dechow, and Kelderhouse farms as well as the schoolhouse. Timber framers, quilters, and basket weavers will be demonstrating their crafts. Potters and blacksmiths will be hard at work. Oxen will be cutting hay in the fields. Interpreting the history of the Port Oneida community and its settlers will also be an important aspect of the Fair. Park Rangers, volunteers, and families of Port Oneida residents will share stories at various farm sites. Food will be available for purchase or you may pack a picnic lunch. 

By partnering with Bay Area Recycling for Charities, the National Lakeshore will be going green and composting or recycling as much material as possible throughout the Fair. Special bins will be placed at each site.  In order to reduce what is being put into a landfill, compostable service ware will be used. These items (cups, plates, and utensils) are made from plant based materials and will break down in a compost pile within weeks, as opposed to plastics and paper material that would take generations to decompose in a landfill. 

Last updated: May 18, 2016

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