Downtown Dover will go back to its colonial roots on Saturday for the sixth annual 18th Century Market Fair on The Green.

Downtown Dover will go back to its colonial roots on Saturday for the sixth annual 18th Century Market Fair on The Green.

The fair, presented by First State Heritage Park, will recreate what a market fair was like during the 1700s.

Guests will find vendors dressed in period attire selling everything from glassware to woodwork and food.

Performers will entertain with a puppet show, English country dancing, children’s games and more.

“We created this event to bring to life the sights and sounds of the 18th century,” said Sarah Zimmerman, superintendent of First State Heritage Park. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to experience history in the place where it actually happened.”

New puppet show

New this year is “Professor Horn’s Punch and Judy Puppet Show” at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 and 2:45 p.m.

“Punch and Judy,” performed by Mark Walker of Maryland, is a famous slapstick show starring a bickering married couple.

“If you have ever seen the movie ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ that’s the same way ‘Punch and Judy is,’” Walker said. “It really doesn’t have a plot. But it works.”

Zimmerman explained that puppets were a hit in the 18th century.

“Puppet shows were a very popular form of entertainment because you have to remember TV had not been invented yet,” she said. “[They’re] a great way of doing storytelling, because you can have all sorts of characters at your fingertips.”

Signora Bella and Lorenzo Dow

Market Fair favorites Signora Bella, an equilibrist, and Mike Follin, a historical interpreter, will return Saturday.

Signora Bella, performed by Judy Ellis of Virginia, brings to life the tradition of the travelling performer of the 1700s as she juggles knives and flaming torches, while balancing on a rope and a giant ball.

She will perform at 10 a.m., noon, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s Follin will depart from his usual, fictitious Dr. Balthazar, a traveling medicine man.

Instead he’ll unveil a new, nonfictional character with ties to Dover, Lorenzo Dow. Dow was an eccentric travelling Methodist preacher born in Connecticut, who has a reputation for never disappointing his audience.

“He’s a historical figure who lived and breathed and actually came to Delaware during his lifetime,” Zimmerman said. “The other thing that makes him cool is I know he will be a very colorful character engaged with the audience.”

Follin will perform at 10:45 a.m., 1:15 and 2:45 p.m.

‘Going to be awesome’

Woodworker Rick Shuman of Hartly will make his sixth appearance at the Market Fair.

At previous fairs, Shuman sold homemade kitchen utensils such as “spoons and spatulas, big meat forks and some ladles,” he said.

Schuman said the Market Fair is special because it gives guests a chance to experience the 18th century without having to travel to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

“People go to Williamsburg to see this sort of thing,” Shuman said. “You can go there any time you want. But the Market Fair is one day out of the year.”

Barring rain, Zimmerman expects the Market Fair to draw close to 5,000 guests like it did in 2013.

“I am incredibly excited about this year,” she said. “It’s going to be awesome.”


WHAT Sixth annual 18th Century Market Fair

WHEN 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday

WHERE The Green, Dover


INFO Visit or call 739-9194