47th annual Ft. Klock craft fair busy

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sprague of Marshville on Saturday shows Ted and Kathy Miller of Dolgeville a colonial device used to make toast while giving them a tour of the Fort Klock Historic Restoration in St. Johnsville at the site’s two-day giant craft fair. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

ST. JOHNSVILLE —Tyler Sprague of Marshville is 13 going on older.

He had the adult-like job of giving tours of Fort Klock Historic Restoration on Route 5 on Saturday during the site’s 47th annual two-day giant craft fair.

“I like the history of the house [a fortified homestead] and the architecture,” he said.

He pointed out the two-foot-thick stone walls and the loopholes through which a defender could fire a weapon.

“I like finding stuff here, exploring,” said Sprague, who is home schooled.

He said his fourth-generation great-uncle is Civil War Union Gen. Phillip Sheridan.

Ted and Kathy Miller of Dolgeville were given a tour by Sprague, including displays of toast and waffle cooking instruments.

“I’ve lived around this place for years and have been wanting to stop in,” said Ted.

The Klock grounds were jammed with food and craft vendors. The site filled 130 vendors spaces. “This is the most we’ve ever had,” said Joan Kark-Wren, member president. She attributes that, in part, to Eagle Mills Cider Company in Broadalbin being up for sale—hence no September fair there.

The Klock fair is a fundraiser to maintain and restore the colonial site. The fair annually garners about $8,000, but the site needs a new barn roof at a cost of $25,000 to $30,000, Kark-Wren said.

“The reason the fort is here is to educate the public about what life was like in colonial times,” she said. For example, the fort held a Revolutionary War battle reenactment last October.

The traffic to and from the fair on Saturday was heavy and required Robert Metzger, chairman of the site’s board, to direct traffic on Route 5 for parking at the fort. Metzger’s colonial clothing left no doubt that visitors were in the right place.

The fair was more than a fundraiser. Metzger said he hopes people will decide to volunteer at the fort and get an interest in history.

The fair requires setup, cooking and cleanup. “I was cooking for the last two days,” he said.

Angela Germany of Caroga Lake came to the fair for the first time. “There’s an excellent variety of vendors, handmade things,” including foods and artisan work, she said.

“I like seeing all the woodwork,” said Evan Stinson of Fort Plain, a carpenter.

“I think it’s a little busier because of the weather,” said Dolly Fikes.

She and her husband, Rod, own Hand Painted Roofing Slate of Mohawk and have been vendors at the Klock fair for 30 years. “We have slates from roofs all over the state,” she said.

A lot of people came just to see what was for sale and what catches their fancy. “We just like to look around and look at stuff,” said Kayla Lamphere of Gloversville.

By Patricia Older

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