Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz will host a two-day living history event on Saturday, May 14th and Sunday, May 15th, that will transport visitors back in time to a colonial era marketplace.
New Netherland Marketplace, 1645, pre-dates the French Protestant occupation of the region that would become known as New Paltz. Though such a setting never actually existed in this exact location, the fictional market aims to immerse visitors in a mid-17th century New Netherland, where they will discover, perhaps, a surprisingly diverse and culturally rich population comprised of Indigenous representatives, free and enslaved Africans, and Dutch artisans and merchants.
Living historians portraying Dutch merchants, traders, and craftspeople will be offering demonstrations on leather and wood working, hearth cooking, tailoring, timber framing, wampum making, and more. The marketplace will also include displays of camp gear and furs, clothing, wooden bowls, and spoons for sale. Demonstrations of cannon and musket firing will be taking place at approximately 10:30 am and 3:30 pm on both days. Saturday’s demonstrations will include 17th century martial arts presentations at noon and 2 pm.
African folktales, storytelling, and music performances will be presented by April Armstrong and Salieu Suso at 11 am and 1 pm both Saturday and Sunday. Armstrong, who has become known for her dramatic performances of folktales from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas, will be accompanied by Suso on the 21-stringed kora. The kora, which originates from The Gambia in West Africa, is constructed of calabash, rosewood, cow hide, and fishing lines as strings, and most closely resembles the western harp.
Finally, Delaware and Lenape representatives will be returning to their ancestral homelands to portray the life of their ancestors and their economic relationship with the Dutch. Their camp will have ongoing open fire cooking, cordage making, bow shooting, flintknapping, arrow making, and hide tanning demonstrations throughout the weekend. Enrolled members of the Delaware Tribe of Indians (Bartlesville, OK), the Delaware Nation (Anadarko, OK), and the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown (Thamesville, Ontario) will be present, representing their people and culture, and speaking about their communities today.
This event is free and open to the public. For a full list of scheduled events, visit the Historic Huguenot Street website.
Photo of Indigenous Delaware descendants at their Maple Sugar camp by Jeremy Turner.