JERSEYS STATE HISTORY FAIR RETURNING IN 2011
(10/P136) TRENTON - Have you ever participated in a Revolutionary War military drill? Or had the chance to plow a furrow? What about spinning wool on a real spinning wheel? These are just a few of dozens of historical exhibits and activities that will be featured when the “Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair” returns from a one-year hiatus in May 2011.
The History Fair will move from its previous home at Washington Crossing State Park to a new venue at the Historic Village at Allaire, Allaire State Park, Farmingdale, in Monmouth County. It will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“New Jersey has such a rich and important history, and played such a key role in the founding of our nation,’’ said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “We’re pleased to bring back this annual event to engage our residents and allow them to experience and enjoy hundreds of years of our state’s history in a suitable and enjoyable setting.”
The Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair was first held in 2004 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the creation of the New Jersey’s historic sites system. It proved very popular, drawing more than 5,000 visitors in 2009. In 2008, the History Fair received an award of recognition from the New Jersey Historical Commission for its leadership role in promoting the State’s history.
The free event was cancelled this year due to limited resources. It will be revived next year under the joint sponsorship of the DEP’s Office of Historic Sites and the non-profit Allaire Village Inc. Organizers believe the new venue at Allaire will be a fitting site for historical groups to showcase their town or community history and its importance to New Jersey.
“There was so much interest from exhibitors and park visitors that we felt there was enough appeal to revive the fair,’’ said Beverly Weaver, supervisor of the DEP’s Office of Historic Sites. “The fair helps cultivate the public’s awareness of New Jersey’s history in a lively, engaging way.’’
The new setting at Allaire State Park is well-known for its historic 19th century iron making town, the Howell Iron Works Company, and the antique train that runs through it on the Pine Creek Railroad. Also, the Manasquan River winds through the park, which is a habitat for a wide variety of wildflowers, trees, plants, birds and other wildlife.
Some groups, already registered to participate in the 2011 History Fair, include the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, New Jersey State Archives, Montclair Historical Society, Alice Paul Institute, New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association, New Jersey Lighthouse Society, Monmouth Battlefield State Park, New Jersey Scout Museum, Egg Harbor City Historical Society and the Wool Merchant’s Daughter.
Weaver also said visitors will be able to meet Civil War “veterans,” observe open-hearth cooking and explore the craft of blacksmithing. There will even be paranormal investigators from the Shore Paranormal Research Society of Toms River, who will detail work they have done at some historic locations in New Jersey.
Also among activities that visitors can experience is a period baseball game. Next year’s fair will once again feature the Flemington Neshanocks, a 19th century baseball club. They will play the Elizabeth Resolutes using 1864 rules. Players will wear uniforms and use equipment that reflects this time period.
For continuous updates on the 2011 Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair visit: www.njhistoryfair.org.
For general questions, call (732) 919-3500. If you’re interested in participating as an exhibitor, you can apply electronically at the fair’s website or call (609) 777-0238.