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FestiFall celebrates life and times of Albert Gallatin

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Posted: Friday, September 16, 2011 2:00 am

By Frances Borsodi Zajac


Herald-Standard | 0 comments

FestiFall will once again celebrate the life and times of Albert Gallatin with a weekend of events that include delicious food, period music, vendors, children’s activities, guided hikes and a frontier wedding.

New this year is a Sunday worship service, quilt exhibit and the appearance of a young Albert and Hannah Gallatin.

Admission remains free to FestiFall, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Friendship Hill National Historic Site, located along Route 166 in Springhill Township near Point Marion. Friendship Hill is the historic home of Gallatin, who is best known for serving as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Jefferson and Madison.

The Friendship Hill Association and the National Park Service are partnering this year with the Albert Gallatin School District to present activities, such as applesauce making, candle dipping and nature chalk art rubbings. Stacey Robinson is coordinating these booths. Elementary school students and their teachers will be at FestiFall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to help volunteers with these activities, and association volunteers will handle the children’s activities on Sunday.

“We’re trying to foster more interest in FestiFall so students can learn more about Albert Gallatin and what an important man he was in history,’’ said Kitty Seifert, park ranger/interpretation.

“Not just Albert Gallatin but the lifestyle and culture of the period,’’ said Beth Reseter, president of the Friendship Hill Association, the friends group that was founded in 1981.

Several elementary schools are participating. There will be applesauce making by Friendship Hill, candle dipping by Plava, corn shucking/apple bobbing by D. Ferd Swaney and a scavenger hunt at 2 p.m. Saturday, led by Smithfield. Students from AG North Middle School will do nature chalk art rubbings. A geography quiz will be available for children with those participating eligible to win a prize that is being raffled off. Period music is always a part of the weekend. Saturday performances include the Albert Gallatin High School Bugle/Fife/Drum Ensemble from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., West Virginia Dulcimer Dames from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m., and the Falling Run Band with Ray Hicks from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, the AGHS ensemble will perform from 2 to 3 p.m. Evan Kovach, resident park musician, will play both days inside the mansion.

Vendors will demonstrate a variety of crafts ranging from dollmaking to spinning to slate painting.

They include Susan Rex, spinning yarn wool; Lisa Kardel, paper quilts; Peggy Nixon, slate painting, Cheryl Peers and Olive D’Isidoro, quilting; Donna Cocalis, braided rugs and chair pads; Allie Marguccio, bobbin lace; Tom Marguccio, bobbin turning; David and Laurie Stewart, spinning, weaving, knitting and crocheting; Barbara Bailey, clay buttons; Pat Anderson, basketmaker; Mary O’Rourke, head garlands; Bobbi Kramer, old-fashioned soap; Emma Sines, dolls and clothes; Paul Claus and Marsh Truax, jackware; and Paul Ruane, stained glass.

Robert Nipar will explain surveying while Morgantown author Ed Michael will portray Angus McCallander, a Scotsman who is the main character of his 18th century-based novel “Shadow of the Alleghenies.’’

Festivalgoers are also able to purchase such historic foods, such as ham and bean soup, pulled beef sandwiches, lemonade, root beer, cider, cornbread, fresh-baked bread and sugar and molasses cookies.

A quilt exhibit, coordinated by Toni L’Hommedieu, will be displayed from the mansion’s second-floor balcony.

A young Albert Gallatin, portrayed by Tyler Reseter, will bring his young bride, Hannah, played by Hilary Miller Tomaino, to Friendship Hill for the first time. The historic couple, who are coming from New York City, are expected to arrive at noon both days.

FestiFall will also feature a frontier wedding between Barbara Pasqua, a wench, and Bob Croushore, a poacher, with the Rev. Bill Durst of Grantsville, Md., officiating. The wedding takes place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

Park rangers will conduct programs on military life in the early 19th century that includes a weapons demonstration both days, starting at 11:30 a.m. and repeating every hour.

Linda Bise is leading half-hour and hour-long hikes both days for visitors interested in the land as well as the history of Friendship Hill. Half-hour walks are offered at 2 and 3:30 p.m. and hour walks will take place at 2:45 and 4:15 p.m.

For the first time, a worship service will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday at the gazebo with the Rev. Scott Teets of Fallen Timbers Community Chapel in Springhill Township.

FestiFall is the biggest event of the year at Friendship Hill. Last year, more than 2,500 visitors attended the two-day festival.

Reseter said, “You see so many familiar faces because FestiFall is a community event. It’s a wonderful weekend when parents can bring their children, hike, listen to music, tour the mansion, enjoy demonstrations and be entertained without having to spend a penny. So many visitors remember coming to Friendship Hill as a child, and now they can bring their own children. It’s an event that’s stood the test of time.’’

For more information, call the National Park Service at 724-725-9190.

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