A trip to the frontier

STEUBENVILLE – There were a lot of wide-eyed kids Saturday at the Ohio Valley Frontier Days at the Historic Fort Steuben.

The event continues today from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Hundreds of people, including parents with children and grandparents with grandkids, came to the fort Saturday to learn about life at the fort and the time period.

The event included lessons in making rope out of sisal, building buckets out of wood, dulcimer playing, tomahawk throwing and carving wooden spoons.

The fort buildings were open with guides to explain life at the fort.

The First Federal Land Office located next to Historic Fort Steuben also was open for guided tours.

Historic Fort Steuben Board of Trustees President Jerry Barilla said about 700 people came to the event Saturday.

“There was a great turnout with families with young children who were able to explore history,” Barilla said. “Every year this is a positive way of saying ‘thank you’ to the people of the community.”

Barilla said there were more than two dozen demonstrations and crafters at the Ohio Valley Frontier Days.

“We are seeing a lot of kids with their parents and grandparents having a good family day out,” Barilla said.

John Boilegh of Wintersville drew many people to his area as a blacksmith. Bob Huber of Gibsonia, Pa., showed festival goers how to make rope out of sisal, which he imports from Brazil. He said hemp makes the best rope but hemp is illegal to possess. He winds four strands of sisal into rope. Huber also showed how to make buckets out of strips of wood.

Jessie Rivers, 11, of Bloomingdale proved to be a natural at tomahawk throwing. Her last thrown hit the bull’s-eye but the tomahawk unfortunately didn’t stick to the wood. She got a wooden nickel as a reward from Dan Filbert of Irondale, the instructor.

“I think it was fun,” Rivers said with a smile afterwards.

Jodi Russell of Toronto, Region 12 director for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, spent some time at the apothecary table manned by Gary Cramer of Pittsburgh, representing the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Line, trading information back and forth about herbs and their medicinal uses.

Russell said she was impressed by what has been done at Historic Fort Steuben.

“To see what things were like back then is phenomenal. Kids need to see more of this. It is very educational,” she said.

Amber Kellermier of Richmond brought children to the event, and said they liked the archeological dig exhibition the most. She said it was her first visit to the festival.

“The kids loved learning about archeology, and were asking all kinds of questions,” she said.

“Where else can you go with a family of six and spend less than $10. This is a great family event,”said Judy Bratten, executive director of the Historic Fort Steuben.

Adult tickets are $3, six to 12-year olds are $1 and children under the age of six are admitted free.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)