JOHNSTOWN - Johnson Hall State Historic Site appeared to travel back in time to the 18th century this weekend, as merchants, revolutionaries and cricket players filled the lawns of Sir William Johnson's home.
Re-enactors gathered Saturday for the annual Market Fair at the site to show people what life was like before the technological, and even industrial, revolution.
"We're showing 21st century people what life was it was like back in the 18th century," said Jim Maclay, a re-enactor who plays a Scottish soldier fighting for the colonies during the Revolutionary War. "We consider ourselves a teaching unit and an educational unit . . . We're trying to get the real story across to what people in the 18th century were like."
Re-enactor Deborraha Burnett teaches Devin and Cameron Eichinger how soap was made in the 18th century at the Market Fair at Johnson Hall State Historic Site in Johnstown on Saturday.
The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini
Arkansas-native Deborraha Burnett, who works as a teacher and has been re-enacting for more than 50 years, was there to show people how unscented soap was made 300 years ago. Burnett discovered the Market Fair when she came up to visit her children who lived in upstate New York and she read a story about Johnson Hall. Burnett said as an educator, she enjoys the chance to teach.
"This is open-air teaching. This is the best kind of teaching because it's hands on," Burnett said. "What I get out of it [is knowing there is a] smarter upcoming generation. My grandmother said it's our job as teachers not to teach our kids what they didn't know, but to teach them that there was nothing that they couldn't know.
"That's what I get out of it, the satisfaction of seeing kids' eyes light up as they realize 'Oh, it took a month and a day to make soap.' That's fun."
Market Fair continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While admission is free, donations will be accepted.
A shuttle bus will be available to transport fair-goers from the Johnstown High School parking lot off Pearl Street. There is no parking on the site during the event.