Nanticoke River Jamboree will be held Oct. 8

The Beale Street Puppeteers will be providing entertainment at the Jamboree. Below, Rachael O’Connell will demonstrate games and activities.

The Beale Street Puppeteers will be providing entertainment at the Jamboree. Below, Rachael O’Connell will demonstrate games and activities.

VIENNA — The 6th annual Nanticoke River Jamboree: GAMES! at Handsell is a living history day with living history presentations and traditional crafts and will be held this year on Oct. 8, at Handsell, a National Register Historic Site.

For the theme of the 2016 Jamboree at Handsell, NHPA will be engaging and encouraging visitors to partake in hands-on fun with a variety of sporting and leisure activities that African-Americans, Native Americans, and European settlers engaged in during three centuries in America. The Jamboree’s purpose is to educate visitors, through living history presentations, that these fore-bearers were able to take time out from their hard-working days to have moments of relaxation, competition, skill-building, and enjoyment.

Each exhibitor to this year’s Jamboree has been asked to demonstrate or display a type of historic game, toy or leisure activity. Wherever there is a game displayed, signage will be posted so that visitors learn the name of the activity and a brief history of how and when it was developed.

The popular “History Tent” this year will highlight the Beale Street Puppeteers with their version of the the historic Punch and Judy Show, along with hands-on puppet making opportunities between shows. Also featured will be Rachel O’Connell, who trained with and served as Assistant to the “Natural Philosopher,” Dean Howarth, O’Connell will demonstrate many favorite activities such as: trapball, croquet, Game of Graces (hoop toss), Shut the box (dice game), lawn bowling, mirror box, Newtons Inertia toy, tablecloth pull trick, friction tug o war, bed of nails, and singing wine glasses. At the time of this writing, NHPA has also contacted jugglers to participate as well as parlor musicians, such as mandolin players and Kite flyers.

The Fair Play Vintage Baseball Club of Talbot will display historic baseball information and present in period uniforms. In the Handsell kitchen, three generations of African American interpreters will discuss past-time activities of enslaved and free children, including rag doll making. Others possible gaming sports will include kite flying, juggling, historic soccer and antique bicycles.

In the Handsell parlor, actors Carolyn and Monte Hailey have been invited to interpret leisure activities representing a 19th century gentleman farmer and his wife including reading, needlework and Victorian parlor games. In the Chicone Village, Native interpreters will demonstrate prehistoric lacrosse played by the Native people while engaging with modern collegiate lacrosse athletes. Other Native games include corn ring toss, contrasted with modern corn hole.

In addition to the new performers invited to enhance the theme of GAMES, traditional crafts people and living history interpreters will also be exhibiting at the Jamboree as they explore life in the 18th and 19th centuries. So far this year there will be basket weaving, wood lathe turning, faux painting, doll making, spinning (with live sheep) and decoy carving. Other crafts people are pending at the time of this writing.

Representatives from the Pocomoke Indian Nation, the Lenni-Lenape of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Cherokee Tribes as well as Handsell’s own Village Volunteers will explore many life skills of the Native People who once lived at Chicone. These demonstrations include fire-making, weaving, pottery, chipping of implements, and techniques used for the building of the longhouse. For the fourth year, The Pocomoke Indian Nation from Crisfield will display the making of a dug-out canoe as well as other native life skills such as camp fire cooking and weaving. (See attached photos). These demonstrations occur in the Chicone Village (longhouse, garden and work shelter) and are ongoing through the day.

A new exhibitor this year, the Center for Basketry Research from Baltimore will be demonstrating and supplying kits for making “God’s Eyes” or Ojo de Dios.” The Huichol Indians of Mexico and the Aymara Indians of Bolivia weave brightly colored yarn on a simple frame of crossed sticks to make this unique design.

Handsell is located on the site of the pre-historic Native Village at Chicone, later set aside as an Indian Reservation (1721-1769). Today it is a State and National Register Listed Historic site, held with a MHT Preservation Easement on a Maryland Scenic By-Way and the Michener Chesapeake By-Way. There is water access to the property by the Chicone Creek, which makes Handsell an addition to the John Smith National Water Trail and other paddling excursions.

The Nanticoke River Jamboree is sponsored this year by NRG Energy, WCEM 106.3 “The Heat,” Dorchester Center for the Arts, Healing Hands Animal Hospital, Provident State Bank and The Drug Store, Hurlock.

Food and Beverages provided by Two Chicks Catering. Admission is $4, children 12 and under are FREE. Gate opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m., Oct. 8.

Handsell is located at 4837 Indiantown Road, 1 ½ miles north of US Rt. 50, near Vienna,. For more information go to Interested historic craftspeople can call 410-228-7458 or e-mail

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