Community members enjoyed a blast to the past during the annual Country Fair hosted by the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society Oct. 15-16.
The program was held at the historical society’s c. 1720 headquarters, located within the area’s historic district on North Country Road. Outside, live music played as the society’s volunteers educated the crowds of spectators.
In a vivid recreation of an era without running water or electricity, some prepared baked goods and stews over an open flame, offering spectators a taste of history. Others brought out toy sets, reliving the pastimes of their local forebears.
Antoinette Donato, vice president of MPMSHS, was overjoyed by the number of community members who turned out throughout the day. She described the event’s purpose and its place in honoring the region’s history.
“We share a step back in time with the community,” she said. “We have demonstrators who demonstrate old crafts from years and years ago that no longer exist. We have our barn open, which is full of historical artifacts.” She added, “We feel it’s really important to share this experience with the community. It’s an opportunity to share what early America was like.”
Mark Sternberg, a local historian who specializes in the American Revolution, was among those who joined the festivities. In an interview, Sternberg shared the unique place Miller Place occupied during the Revolutionary War.
“There were patriots here, loyalists here, but there is definitely a huge amount of Revolutionary War history here,” he said.
At this historic site in Miller Place, Sternberg described the experience of being transported through time. He emphasized the need to preserve historical artifacts and structures, and celebrate local customs — all a function of the historical society.
“It’s tough when you don’t have a touch point,” Sternberg said. “The saving of these historic structures is one key way of connecting to history, giving people an idea of imagining the event happening there.”
He added, “What’s great about this area is a lot of these houses are exactly where they were initially, so you can also position the whole landscape as tying into how you would imagine that place being throughout history.”
Donato believes that events such as these keep local history alive, making it engaging and entertaining for the next generation. She also stated that there is no substitute for the immersive experience offered through the fair.
“You can read about it in a book, look it up on Facebook and Google it, but there is nothing like coming here and seeing it in person,” she said.
— Photos by Raymond Janis