By Jonathan Williams
Times West Virginian
Scientists haven’t invented time travel yet, but history enthusiasts can reliably expect to be transported back in time by the craft of a good historical reenactor.
These men and women put accuracy above all, and their devotion to recreating the clothes, accessories and atmosphere of another time creates a window into the past.
But reenactors have to get their supplies somewhere. For Civil War reenactors, finding period-authentic muzzleloading rifles can be a difficult prospect.
Pricketts Fort is hosting its second annual Muzzleloading and Accoutrements Trade Show at the fort Friday through Sunday, with artisans from all over the region displaying their wares.
“This year we’ve got 15 vendors,” said Pricketts Fort Director Greg Bray, who specialize in various 18th century firearms and accessories such as powder horns, tomahawks and a lot more.
Basically, the Muzzleloading and Accoutrements Trade Show is just what it sounds like: It’s a show directly aimed at enthusiasts and professionals in the historical reenacting circuit.
“We’ll have a few hunters,” Bray said, “but not a lot, because that’s not really the crowd we’re pandering to.”
Vendors will be marketing powder horns, knives, tomahawks, Indian quillwork, hunting bags, frontier art and more to reenactors and “collectors,” Bray said. These vendors come from as far away as New York, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, to say nothing of the West Virginians who will set up shop for the weekend.
Most of the vendors are members of the Contemporary Longrifle Association, Bray said.
“We’ve added vendors since last year,” he said, the sign of a thriving event.
“A lot of this stuff is the high-end stuff,” Bray said. Some of the guns range in price from $3,000 on up to $9,000 or more.
“That is the kind of artistic ability you’re going to have at this type of show,” he said.
The other accoutrements are similarly well-crafted; he pointed out the scrimshaw, or engraved powder horns, as another example of beautiful craftsmanship that will be on display and for sale over the weekend.
It’s difficult to predict turnout, but Bray said last year’s show was very well attended.
“We had over 300 people over a couple days,” he said, which is good for a first showing.
People came from all over the region, he said, including a bunch of people from Ohio who stayed for the full three days of the show. He hopes to see a similar turnout this year.
The muzzleloading show will also feature door prizes. Bray said entrants must be present in order to collect, since they’d rather not have to mail some of the prizes, which could very well have sharp edges.
“It’s a kickoff to the year for us,” Bray said. “The weather’s starting to turn a little better,” he said, and it’s an excellent lead-in for the School of the Long Hunter hosted by Pricketts Fort later into the year.
The Muzzleloading and Accoutrements Trade Show will run from 1-6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. A $3 admission will be collected at the door, with proceeds benefiting the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation.
Pricketts Fort State Park is located two miles off I-79 at Exit 139 in Fairmont. For more information about this or other events, visit www.prickettsfort.org or contact 304-363-3030.
Email Jonathan Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JWilliamsTWV.