XENIA — Local history will come alive at the Old Town Trade Faire 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 3 in the Assembly Hall at the Greene County Fairgrounds, 120 Fairground Road.
Greene County residents, and travelers from all over, will walk into the hall to hear flute playing, smell biscuits and gravy, see tables full of trade items, and listen to dealers — dressed in 1700-1890 period clothing — tell old stories of their trades.
More than 60 dealers from all over the country will attend the event, displaying and selling a variety of items: soaps and teas, tomahawks and knives, animal hide hats, beeswax candles, wooden dinnerware, jewelry and lanterns, art, games, toys and more. Dealers range from a Wisconsin man bringing tee-pee poles and a canoe to a Fort Boonesborough woman displaying six tables full of early-style fabrics and linens in bolts and folds. A broom maker will also host demonstrations.
Mary’s Kitchen will serve biscuits and gravy for breakfast, soups and sandwiches for dinner, and desserts, closing at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Door prizes, including prizes for children, will be drawn at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The two grand prize winners will receive Pendleton blankets.
Tim and Sharon Milligan of Christiansburg have been sponsoring the show at the fairgrounds for 19 years.
But Milligan’s interest in history started when he was a boy. His dad was a tool and die maker in Dayton.
“He used to build guns and when I was very young, before 10, I got into hunting — deer, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, turkey. And then back in ‘70 we got very interested in black powder so we started building guns … and we’d go hunting pretty much strictly with black powder firearms. We’d go different places and all over Ohio,” he said.
Milligan said Allan Eckert’s book The Frontiersmen, also helped spark his passion for history. He then shared his interests with his wife Sharon, who started a sewing business, Stitchers Cabin, near their home. The Milligans make historical clothing and seven different styles of hats.
After traveling to shows all over the country, the two decided to start their own in Greene County, which has grown to attract 1,000 to 1,500 visitors each year.
“The Old Town Trade Faire is named after one of the more famous men of this part of the country. Simon Kenton run the gauntlet of the Shawnee nation just up the road, and that’s what they called Old Town,” Milligan said. “That’s why we named it the Old Town Trade Faire, out of respect for Simon Kenton.”
The county’s ties to history are enough reason for the Milligans to encourage residents to come out to the weekend show.
“It’s a wonderful setting for Greene County because of the history that this community has,” Milligan said. “Come out and see how your forefathers lived. Everything you see in there was used during that time period. Many of the things transitioned into the modern-day tool of interest.”
All ages are welcome.
“Anything you want to know about early American lifestyles — dealers will tell you,” Milligan said. “We encourage you to ask questions.”
Admission is $4 at the door; children under 12 attend for free. Pets are not invited. Parking is free. ADA/handicapped parking is available.