This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
CHADDS FORD – Storms pummeling the area the day before put a damper on the Saturday of the annual Chadds Ford Days, but everyone was in high spirits with the perfect weather Sept. 7 at the Chadds Ford Historical Society.
This year’s weekend-long event, celebrating 49 years, was dedicated in memory of Fred Reiter, Charter and Honorary Member of the historical society, who was also the “voice” of Chadds Ford Days for over 40 years.
“We try to make this a fun, family event,” said George Franz, the chair of Chadds Ford Days. “The money from this and the Pumpkin Carve is what we use to maintain and operate our educational program and pay for the maintenance of the John Chads House and the Barns-Brinton House.”
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The event featured the normal craft tables, plenty of options for food, a live band and, of course, the Revolutionary War re-enactors — with two Civil War re-enactors thrown in.
But they were some changes which seemed to have been a hit with spectators.
“We’re consciously trying to attract the younger audience,” Franz said. “The Kids’ Korner used to be colonial games and now we have a moon bounce and we brought in the puppet theater this year.”
If that wasn’t enough for someone, there were also tours given of the historic John Chads House, antique cars and a self-guided tour inside the Barn Visitors Center.
The storm Saturday afternoon caused the event to shut down around 2:30 p.m., a good two-and-a-half hours before the scheduled closing time.
But weather is one factor out of the hands of organizers, who spend almost an entire year planning the annual event.
Thankfully, the perfect, mostly sunny skies and cool temperatures Sunday dried up the fields and allowed spectators and participants to enjoy all the hard work.
“The first letters go out to the crafters in January for them to sign up,” Franz said. “Intense activities starts in August and the set-up stuff starts the day after Labor Day. There’s a group of people here every day (that week).”
During that week of nonstop work, there is an opportunity for people to get in their community service as well.
“Thursday, we have a crew of community service from Delaware County Community Development come in,” Franz said. “They’re basically people who have to do community service for DUI. We had eight (this year).”
Once the gates closed Sunday, at 5 p.m., things were torn down and in a couple weeks, the whole process will begin all over again, except this time, it will be for the big 50th.
“We’ll have a wrap-up meeting in October to talk about what happened this year and what we need to change for next year,” Franz said.