Fredonia History Days

Residents will have an opportunity to step back in history this weekend. The annual Fredonia History Days will be held Friday and Saturday.

The festivities will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. with a chicken and ribs barbecue to be held at the Telecommunications Museum of Fredonia, 44 Temple St. A classic car show will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., with registration starting at 5 p.m. Registration for the event is free and will be held around Barker Common. Live music by The Mercury Blues Band will be played during the car show in the Barker Common Gazebo.

“The long-range forecast for the weekend looks great so I imagine we will get a large turnout for the car show,” Pomfret Town Historian Todd Langworthy said.

On Friday night, horse-drawn trolley tours throughout the village will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Tours will leave at the top of the hour from the information booth in Barker Common. The tour will travel a circular route with Langworthy portraying Captain Alonzo Cushing as the tour guide. The “interactive tour” will feature stories as told by Cushing and seating is limited. Tickets for the tour are $10 and can be purchased from Lady of the Lake, 29 W. Main St. Tickets will be sold at the information booth starting at 6:30 p.m. Tours will continue on Saturday following the same schedule.

Starting on Saturday, Fredonia History Days will start at 10 a.m., with food vendors, a re-enactor camp and a history tent. Civil War re-enactors will be set up in Barker Common East from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to walk in and around the camp to talk to the soldiers. According to Langworthy, soldiers from both the Union and Confederate sides will be camped out.

“They share an awful lot of information that people don’t know. It’s something that is open basically all day on Saturday … so people can go over any time during the day when they have time and in between different events going on throughout the day,” he said. “It’s very interactive. When you go up to (soldiers), especially the Confederates, they have a definite point of view about ‘Yankees.'”

Various organizations will be set up in the history tent including the town of Pomfret, the Sheridan Historical Society, WCA Home, Fredonia Grange No. 1, Village Haunts and Fredonia Garden Club. Local author Susan Dilks and Ken Springirth from Erie, Pa., will also have informational displays. A special ceremony will be held at 1 p.m., during the Fredtown Stompers performance at the gazebo. The ceremony will be informational and to display a World War I medal given to soldiers returning from war nearly 100 years ago.

“The medal itself … (won’t be on display) until after the ceremony in the history tent until 6 (o’clock). … It’s really neat. It’s not huge, it’s kind of small. It’s about the size of a half dollar. When people hear the story of it, they will be pretty intrigued,” Langworthy said.

Also on Saturday, residents will have an opportunity to see a World War II restored Jeep. The vehicle was manufactured in 1945 and has been restored to its original form. The Jeep will be on display, weather permitting, near the gazebo from 10 a.m. to noon.

“It’s a very rare Jeep. … It looks exactly like the day that it went to Europe for World War II,” Langworthy said.

A free tour of the 1891 Fredonia Opera House will start at 11 a.m., in the opera house lobby and The Black Pearl Band will perform from 3 to 7 p.m. The Fredonia High School Key Club will sponsor a Chiavetta’s chicken barbecue from 4 p.m. to sold out. Starting at 7:30 p.m., “Million Dollar Arm” will be shown at the opera house.

For a complete schedule of events, visit www.festivalsfredonia.com.

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