Chautauqua County Bicentennial History Fair is Aug. 13 and 14

More than 50 different historical groups will be in Mayville, N.Y.

Chautauqua County Bicentennial Seal

Chautauqua County Bicentennial Seal

MAYVILLE, N.Y. – What could be the single largest history celebration to ever take place in Chautauqua County will happen Aug. 13 and 14 in Mayville. As part of the yearlong Bicentennial Celebration, the 2011 History Fair will take place at Chautauqua Suites (view Map) and feature 56 different historical groups and organizations from all corners of the county. Admission is free.

“This could be a once-in-a-lifetime event,” notes Chautauqua County Historian Michelle Henry. “The range of towns that will be on hand and subjects that will be represented at the fair is really remarkable. Who knows when these groups will all be together again at the same location?” 

Among the many attractions that will be at the History Fair include a display featuring the 25th Reunion Banner of the Ninth New York Cavalry, which was formed in Westfield, N.Y. in 1861 and was the only Cavalry unit to come out of Western New York. The banner was created in 1886 and features the image of Col. William Sackett, who was killed at Trevilian Station on June 14, 1864.

“This banner is a symbol for all the men who served in the Ninth Cavalry and is a must-see,” explains Henry. “There is an effort to restore and preserve the banner and donations will be accepted during both days of the fair.”

Westfield's 9th New York Cavalry 25th Anniversary Banner

Henry adds that several Greek Revival Architectural posters will be displayed, featuring several noteworthy buildings from 20 towns in the county. The Chautauqua County Historical Society will also feature an exhibit of photographic images from John Bowman (1884 – 1977), one of the most prolific and acclaimed photographers in the county’s history.

Each of the 56 historical organizations in attendance will feature unique and fascinating artifacts relating to their local history, many of which are rarely displayed. Artifacts and documents relating to some of the county’s earliest settlers, like Alexander Findley, Amos Sottle, and William Bemus will be displayed in various booths. Local history authors will also have their books and publications available for sale.

Additionally, re-enactors depicting the French and Indian War, the War of 1812, Civil War and World War I will be encamped around Chautauqua Suites and will conduct demonstrations inside the conference center. and that the Hilltop Spinners and County Weaver’s Guild will be demonstrating during the fair.

Food and other concessions will also be made available throughout both days of the fair.

Henry is also reminding residents that the history fair is part of the Passport to History promotion. Anyone with a Bicentennial Passport should bring it to the county historian’s booth to get it stamped so they can qualify for various prizes to be given out at the end of the year.

The History Fair will run Saturday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no cost for residents to attend and the event is only made possible through a generous grant from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.

For more information on the History Fair, contact Chautauqua County Historian, Michelle Henry, at 753-4857 or email henrym@co.chautauqua.ny.us.

About the Society
The Chautauqua County Historical Society was established in 1883 and is the oldest historical society in Chautauqua County. Since 1951, the organization has been based out of the historic McClurg Mansion (built in 1818) in Westfield, N.Y. Annual Membership rates start at just $20. All members are given free access to the museum year-round and a subscription to the quarterly “Time Lines” newsletter.  For more information, call 716-326-2977 or visit McClurgmuseum.org.

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