Fayette Heritage Day kicks off Saturday

FAYETTE – Visitors to Fayette Historic State Park this Saturday should expect to have a good old fashioned time during Fayette Heritage Day.

The annual event, which brings around 1,000 people to the park each year, gives visitors a chance to step back in time with a variety of displays, events, and demonstrations. The day kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue until 4 p.m.

Children visiting the park for the event will have an opportunity to see the toys and games that were common in the 19th century, and will even get to try their hand at making some of their very own.

“We’re going to be making kites and hopefully flying them if we have a little bit of a wind,” said Troy Henderson, site historian for the Fayette Historical Townsite and historian for the Michigan Historical Center.

Visitors can also participate in games of croquet, three-legged races, sac races, and 1880s style “base ball.”

“It will certainly resemble a modern game of baseball but some of the rules are different,” said Henderson, noting that no gloves will be used and a ball caught on the first bounce is considered an out.

The Fayette “Base Ball” Club will play against visitors age 13 and up who would like to try the game at the park’s Ball Field Site starting at 3:30 p.m. The Fayette team will also be conducting batting practice throughout the day.

This year Fayette Heritage Day features music from the Dodworth Duo, composed of Julie Craigo and Ted Badgerow, who will be performing folk melodies, ballads, Civil War songs, and other music from between 1835 and 1895. The Duo will use a variety of period instruments for their performances including banjo, guitar, fife, and penny whistle.

Also performing during the event will be Michael Deren, a historical actor and musician, who will be appearing as a Great Lakes schooner captain from 1875. Deren’s performances will take place at 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. in a tent located near the company office building.

“He puts on quite a show, and given that Fayette has such a history with shipping the schooner captain roll is quite fitting,” said Henderson.

Other historical displays and presentations will take place at the park including a blacksmithing display, a quilting display, and a display of archeological items found at Fayette. The Fayette Archeology Display will be presented by archeologist Stacy Tchorzynski, who recently completed an archeological dig at the park.

“We have a lot of artifacts within the Michigan Historical Center Collection but we can’t always put them on display and this gives us an opportunity to do that,” noted Henderson.

Food and other refreshments will be available during the event. Proceeds from from the food sales will benefit the Big Bay de Noc High School Booster Club. Because Fayette is a state park, visitors are required to have a Michigan Recreation Passport to enter the park. More information about the passports is available online at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

For more information about the Fayette Historic Townsite or Fayette Heritage Day can be found by contacting the park directly at 644-2711.