Step back in time with the Fort Loudoun Market Fair

FORT LOUDON, Pa. (WHTM) — Violin music, cannon fire, and applause drift through rows of white tents where costumed artisans sell clothing, pottery, fresh bread, and more.

“It’s not your typical fair. It’s not your typical carnival or festival. It’s very, very unique,” said Andrew Newman, event coordinator for the Fort Loudoun Market Fair. “There’s a lot to get out of it, a lot of history, culture, art, music.”

Most notably, it is unique because it is like traveling back into the 1700s.

At the Fort Loudoun Market Fair in Franklin County are more than 50 18th-century artisans from around the eastern United States, including blacksmiths, tinsmiths, leatherworkers, and glassblowers. Guests can even watch some of them demonstrate their crafts.

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Significant research goes into the vendors’ work, which is juried for the fair, Newman said. Some of their products have even been used as film props.

In addition to the vendors, the market fair includes food (both 18th century and modern), live music, and performances including cannon demonstrations, comedy, and fire breathing.

“We have the frontier fort, and then we have basically a village outside of that that springs up just for this weekend,” Newman said. Visitors may even form a small “camper town” near the event and spend the weekend there.

The fair takes place on the grounds of a reconstructed 18th-century fort, Fort Loudoun. “The environment around it is very pristine, so when you come here, there’s very little modern intrusions. When you come in here, all you’re seeing is basically mountains, and so it’s really a beautiful sight,” said Newman.

Fort Loudoun was a British fort built in 1756 during the French and Indian War and abandoned in 1765. When it was built, it was on the western frontier of Pennsylvania. It is known for being the site of the Allegheny Uprising, which was featured in a John Wayne movie with that title.

Today, volunteers hold several fundraising events at Fort Loudon in addition to the market fair, which is in its second year. Other events at the site include the Celtic-themed Highland Gathering, an Allegheny Uprising event, and a Christmas event.

The fort is only open during events currently, but its website says visitors can walk around the outside of the site during the day and may be able to catch a working volunteer for a tour on Wednesdays.

The Fort Loudoun Market Fair runs June 24-26. Admission is $5 for adults and free for kids 17 and younger.

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