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Great Trail Festival blends history, traditional music

By Kimberly Lewis | Alliance Review Published: April 2, 2014 9:00 AM
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The Great Trail Festival blends living history and traditional music with “crafts of distinction” at its wooded festival grounds, located south of Malvern on state Route 43.

The Carroll County event, celebrating its 33rd year, features many artisans, such as metal smiths, woodworkers, spoon makers, herbalists and craftsmen. The 2014 festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24, and Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 1.

Upon entering the festival, lawn art beckons visitors to think about decorating their yards throughout the year. 

Handmade soaps and lotions to sooth the skin are available at several booths. Intricate jewelry, made from beads and stones, catch the eyes of women of all ages.

Those looking to decorate their home may like Native-American inspired ceramics, floral designs, hand-woven rugs, pottery and beeswax candles. 

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The Akron and District Pipe Band walks through the grounds performing, but visitors may stop and listen to fiddlers and folk musicians throughout the day at the fiddle house stage. The haunting music of Searching Bear’s flute fills the air, and Dan Fladung performs “Logan’s Lament.”

Visitors may enjoy bean soup or a buffalo burger for lunch. Old Tyme Root Beer quenches visitors’ thirst with its offering of root beer, sarsaparilla, cream, blackberry, and orange zippy. Visitors may find their taste buds overwhelmed by the chance to have coated almonds, fried Oreos, hot dogs covered with sauerkraut and Coney sauce, onion rings, fry bread and fudge. Many visitors are seen carrying a bag of kettle popcorn as they leave.

By crossing the covered bridge, visitors are transported to the French and Indian War era, when the Great Trail was used as a main overland route between Pittsburgh and Detroit. Reenactors have authentic tents set up at the rendezvous. The blast of a cannon echoes across the land twice daily. Gathered around their campsites, reenactors welcome visitors to ask questions, peruse their blanket wares or to join them as they explain their passion for history.

Held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 23-24 and Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 1, the Great Trail Festival is located 6331 Canton Road, Malvern, and can be reached at 330-794-9100.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for youth 10-18 years and free for children younger than 10, when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free. No pets are permitted.

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