Hordes of history-minded hunters, hobbyists, reenactors and collectors will descend on The 18th Century Artisan Show at the Best Western Country Cupboard Inn north of Lewisburg on Friday and Saturday.
Exhibitors will include gunsmith Ronald Luckenbill of Emporium, who specializes in making exact reproductions of 18th and 19th century flintlocks. This will be the show’s 13th year, and “I’ve been there every year since they had it,” Luckenbill said.
Kay Martz, a reenactor from Sunbury, said she plans to take a day off Friday so she can attend the show. Two friends are going with her.
She said the show appeals to her because the artisans who participate have a commitment to historical accuracy and high quality.
“Too many times you find a show where the vendor doesn’t do their research, uses shortcuts and non-historical techniques,” said Martz.
But the Lewisburg show features “folks (who) do their research. Most are or have been reenactors/historical interpreters/longhunters and know how items are used in the field,” said Martz. As a reenactor, she portrays an 18th century civilian who works with Pennsylvania soldiers of the Augusta Regiment, which built Fort Augusta during the French and Indian War.
The show emphasizes weapons, many of them reproductions, from the nation’s colonial and early federal eras. These include flintlock muskets, rifles and pistols as well as powder horns, tomahawks and hand-forged knives. But vendors also offer 18th century-style clothing, redware pottery, Pennsylvania German fraktur, handmade furniture, jewelry, books and artwork.
Scores of vendors will have their wares displayed at more than a hundred tables located in large rooms in two buildings.
The event will attract people from 20 states, most of them from “up and down the Eastern Seaboard,” said John Getz, one of the show’s organizers and proprietor of the Getz Barrel Company in Beavertown. Last year more than 1,800 people turned out, Getz said. They included several from Canada.
Dave Conrad, a black powder hunter from the Dauphin County community of Carsonville, said that attending the show is “like going back into a different time period.” He added, “I like the diversity of all of the things there, whether you’re into hunting or reenacting.”
Martz explained that “I buy things both for reenacting and for home use. Like most of us, I use some of my gear at home on a daily basis. I’ve picked up gorgeous hand-made knives, cooking gear and accessories, leather work and wood items from storage boxes to hand-turned spoons.”
Luckenbill, the gunsmith, said that “a nice Lehigh rifle and a Schroyer rifle” will be among the firearms he plans to exhibit this year. “They are all reproductions and they will all be for sale,” he said.
A retired state trooper, Luckenbill made two identical muzzleloaders for 20th Century Fox several years ago when the movie company was preparing to film “The Revenant,” which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass used the rifle to shoot an elk and a grizzly bear.
Based on a true story, the film was set in Montana and the Dakotas in the early 1820s.