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Burlington County hosts May Faire at Smithville Park

Special to The Sun: Burlington County’s first May Faire at Historic Smithville Park will feature an old-time baseball game between the newly regathered Smithville Industrial Village Baseball Team, also known as the Smithville Nine, and the Athletic Baseball Club of Philadelphia.

The Burlington County Commissioners invite residents of all ages to take a trip back in time to the 1800s during a new family-friendly festival celebrating the spring season and the history of Smithville.

During Burlington County’s first May Faire on May 15, visitors will experience some of Smithville’s past, while being entertained by live music, theater performances, carnival games, historical re-enactors, historic arts and crafts demos, food trucks and more.

“Smithville is not only one of Burlington County’s most renown historical sites, but also the crown jewel of our incredible parks system, and this new May Faire event will celebrate its history and beauty,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the Board’s liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “There will be music, performances, historical displays and even an old-time baseball game.”

The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m.

The baseball game is slated for noon on the field adjacent to the event parking lot and will pit the newly reassembled Smithville Industrial Village Base Team, also known as the “Smithville Nine”, and the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia. The players will don vintage uniforms and will play according to old-fashioned rules.

During the festival, visitors will also meet and interact with historical reenactors of Hezekiah B. Smith and his wife Agnes Gilkerson Smith and hear stories about their colorful lives and the history of Smithville.

Throughout the day visitors can also walk Smithville’s grounds and take tours of Smithville Mansion, an 1840 Greek Revival Mansion where Hezekiah and Agnes once lived. There will also be a New Jersey Wheelmen display of vintage bicycles like the famous American Star bicycles built at Smithville, carriage rides through the village and demonstrations by a blacksmith, basket weaver and old-fashioned tintype photographer, plus period theatrical performances by the Riddlesbrood Touring Theater and the Bridge Players Theatre Company, and presentations and displays by historical societies and groups from across the county.

“Burlington County is home to incredible history, important properties and artifacts, and an event like this is a perfect way to celebrate them. The May Faire will bring together historic groups, artists, performers and much more to showcase not only Smithville’s colorful past, but important historical facts, people and places throughout the county and region,” said Eckel. “This event will help bring history alive in a fun and exciting way.”

May Faire will feature food, music and entertainment for all ages, including carnival games, kids craft activities, face painting and storytellers, an artisan marketplace and a variety of food trucks.

The event is being organized by the Burlington County Parks Division with support from the New Jersey Arts Council.

“May Faire is another fantastic creation by our Parks Division to enrich, educate and entertain our county’s families,” said Eckel. “Events like this not only show off the beauty and history of Smithville but also why our parks system is one of the best anywhere.”

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