MAYVILLE - What could be the single largest history celebration to ever take place in Chautauqua County will happen Saturday and Sunday in Mayville.
As part of the county's yearlong Bicentennial Celebration, the 2011 History Fair will take place at Chautauqua Suites and feature 56 different historical groups and organizations from all corners of the county. Admission is free.
''This could be a once-in-a-lifetime event,'' said Michelle Henry, Chautauqua County historian. ''The range of towns that will be on hand and subjects that will be represented at the fair is really remarkable. Who knows when these groups will all be together again at the same location?''
The silk banner from Westfield’s 9th New York Cavalry 25th anniversary reunion in 1886 will be on display at this year’s History Fair on Saturday and Sunday in Mayville.
Among the many attractions that will be at the History Fair include a display featuring the 25th Reunion Banner of the Ninth New York Cavalry, which was formed in Westfield in 1861 and was the only Cavalry unit to come out of Western New York. The banner was created in 1886 and features the image of Colonel William Sackett, who was killed at Trevilian Station on June 14, 1864.
''This banner is a symbol for all the men who served in the Ninth Cavalry and is a must-see,'' Henry said. ''There is an effort to restore and preserve the banner and donations will be accepted during both days of the fair.''
She added that several Greek Revival Architectural posters will be displayed, featuring several noteworthy buildings from 20 towns in the county. The Chautauqua County Historical Society will also feature an exhibit of photographic images from John Bowman, 1884-1977, one of the most prolific and acclaimed photographers in the county's history.
What: Old Fashion Day
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday
Where: Fenton History Center
''Building Jamestown'' is the summer exhibit, and the festival will bring many aspects of the growth of Jamestown to life. Crafts and games for kids, a variety of food vendors, modern crafters and much more. For more information, call Joni Blackman at 664-6256.
* 0.5 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Clint Black
When: 8:15 p.m., Friday
Where: Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater
Long-considered one of country music's brightest and enduring stars, Black is a three-time Country Music Association Award winner, a two-time Grammy winner and a TNN Music Award winner. For tickets, visit tickets.ciweb.org or call 357-6250.
* 17.1 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: ''Pops and Broadway''
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Reg Lenna Civic Center
Cost: $15 presale, $18 at the door ($12 for students)
Broadway star Keith Buterbaugh and Michele Constantino join talented students of the Drama Enrichment Program on stage.
* 0 miles from downtown Jamestown.
Each of the 56 historical organizations in attendance will feature unique and fascinating artifacts relating to their local history, many of which are rarely displayed. Artifacts and documents relating to some of the county's earliest settlers, such as Alexander Findley, Amos Sottle and William Bemus, will be displayed in various booths. Local history authors will also have their books and publications available for sale.
Additionally, re-enactors depicting the French and Indian War, the War of 1812, Civil War, and World War I will be encamped around Chautauqua Suites and will conduct demonstrations inside the conference center, and groups including the Hilltop Spinners and County Weaver's Guild will be demonstrating during the fair.
Food and other concessions will also be made available throughout both days of the fair.
Henry is also reminding residents that the history fair is part of the Passport to History promotion. Anyone with a Bicentennial Passport should bring it to the county historian's booth to get it stamped so they can qualify for various prizes to be given out at the end of the year.
The History Fair will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no cost for residents to attend and the event is made possible through a grant from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.
For more information on the History Fair, contact Ms. Henry at 753-4857 or email email@example.com.