Market fair set at Johnson Hall

JOHNSTOWN — An 18th- century market fair will be held at Johnson Hall State Historic Site, 139 Hall Ave., on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. 

Throughout both days, colonial sutlers (vendors) will offer their wares for sale.

Demonstrations of 18th-century daily life will add to the event, including an encampment, period dram (tavern) demonstration, and colonial toys and games. In the slave quarters, culinary historian and hearth cooking specialist Lavada Nahon will demonstrate open-hearth cooking and interpret historic African and African-American food ways.

Among the highlights of the event are live 18th-century period performances by Colonial magician Mr. Bayly and the Punchbowl Sisters’ “Punch and Judy” shows. 

On Saturday, a tea demonstration will be given and foot races will be held. The schedule of activities will be posted each day of the event.  

Free self-guided tours of historic Johnson Hall will be available, and the museum shop will be open for shopping, featuring reproduction toys and games, souvenirs, and a variety of books about the Johnsons and the 18th century at a 15 percent discount. 

The Georgian kitchen will offer period cakes, breads and other baked goods for sale. Fairgoers are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and drinks to enjoy on the grounds. 

While admission is free, donations will be accepted at various locations throughout the event to help support the market fair. As there is no parking on the site during the event, a shuttle bus will be available to transport fairgoers from the parking lot at Johnstown High School (off Pearl Street). Access to Hall Avenue will be restricted to residents with permits.  

The event is co-sponsored by Johnson Hall State Historic Site and the Friends of Johnson Hall.

The market fair is a re-creation of an event first hosted by Sir William Johnson in 1772. Johnson, who created his English Georgian estate in 1763, was the largest single landowner and the most influential person in the colonial Mohawk Valley. His success in dealing with the Six Nations had a lasting effect on their relationship with the English and largely influenced England’s victory in the Anglo-French struggle for control of colonial North America, a news release said.

Today, the main house and flanking stone houses, originally surrounded by a 700-acre farm, interpret Sir William and Molly Brant’s family life through guided tours of the period room settings, educational programs and special events. 

Johnson Hall State Historic Site is located in Johnstown, just off West State Street (Route 29 west). For more information about Johnson Hall, email or visit the hall on Facebook or at

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information about state parks, call (518) 474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

By Patricia Older

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