Minden history fair set for Saturday

FORT PLAIN — The fifth annual Minden history fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21, at Haslett Park, corner of River and Willett streets.

The visitors will be an opportunity to play with 18th century toys and games; participate in a scavenger hunt; go on a walking tour of local historic sites led by village historian Eileen Chambers; explore historical exhibits displayed by local collectors; learn about the town’s sister city in Germany (“A Tale of two Mindens”); eat free Stewart’s ice cream, buy German food from at a local restaurant and cafe, talk to a Revolutionary War reenactor, and shop for fresh produce from an old-time farmers’ market.

A triple feature, including “Drums Along the Mohawk,” “Mohawk,” and the animated “Liberty’s Kids,” will be shown throughout the day in an “old tyme theatre” reminiscent of Smalley’s Theatre. The Fort Plain movie house was a fixture in this Erie Canal town from 1911 to 1964.

Minden Historian Rob Carter said the area’s first European residents included immigrants from the Palatinate area of Germany. Seeking to escape religious persecution, the Palatine Germans originally emigrated to the Hudson and Schoharie valleys, where they worked as indentured servants in the tar camps. They subsequently moved to the Mohawk Valley in order to have more autonomy, purchasing property from those granted land patents by the king or securing property through treaties with the native Mohawks, said Chambers.

In a nod to the valley’s German heritage, home bakers are invited to participate in a chocolate jumble cookie contest. To enter, competitors can e-mail Carter in advance at [email protected] or bring two dozen cookies to the park before 2 p.m. on the day of the contest.

The family-friendly event —sponsored by the town and village, the Fort Plain Free Library, the Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park, an area restaurant, and Stewart’s Shops — is free and open to all. Prizes will be awarded to winners of the jumble cookie contest and the scavenger hunt.

For more information, call (518) 993-1023.

By Josh Bovee

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