The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and People's Choice Festival have plenty of art to showcase every July, but for the past several years, Boal Mansion Museum has brought another dimension to arts festival weekend in Centre County: the art of the past.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday, the 200-year old estate and museum at 163 Boal Mansion Drive in Boalsburg, will host its annual Antique Faire & Sale.
Between vendors of fine antiques who come from all over to the museum's own consignment area for antique furniture and furnishings, visitors will be able to find a wide range of special items.
"Last year we had an antique doctor’s carriage for sale," said Cindy Shaler, board president and communications chair for Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum. "Between the vendors and museum’s tent there was clothing, household goods, books, toys, furniture… There’s quite a wide variety of things. It depends on what each vendor comes up with."
From 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, attendees can bring their own antiques to be appraised by Roger Snyder of Apple Hill Antiques for $5.
"It's sort of a local... 'Antiques Roadshow,'" Shaler said.
A number of specialty food vendors will be on the grounds, and in keeping with past years, there is a "berry festival" component to the weekend as well. Berry milkshakes and goodies will be for sale in the museum's food and gift tent, along with books, pottery, and other gift shop items.
On Saturday morning, community members can enter the annual Berry Pie contest by bringing their pies any time between 8 and 10:30 a.m. A panel of judges will select the winners at 11 a.m. and afterward slices will be for sale.
Pies must be homemade and at least half berry. The crust doesn't need to be from scratch, but Shaler said it certainly doesn't hurt. A name for or description of the pie should be attached, as well as a contact name and phone number, which won't be shown to the judges but will be used to get in touch with the winners in case they aren't in attendance. Shaler was unsure what the prizes will be this year but said that last year first and second place were awarded different size "Boal bowls," which are crafted by Nittany Woodturners from wood downed on or culled from the woods on the Boal estate.
"[The pie contest] is a great deal of fun for us," Shaler said. "The pies are amazing."
Regular guided tours won't take place during the fair, but short tours of the Columbus Chapel and the new Columbus Exhibit building and Armory and Matilde’s Bedroom on the second floor of the Boal Mansion will be offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
While the Antique Faire is a relatively new part of the local festival weekend, Shaler said it made sense for the museum to do it. Volunteers already were on hand all day every day to park cars on the museum grounds for the People's Choice Festival across the street at the Pennsylvania Military Museum. The Antique Faire offered an opportunity to do something different that complemented other offerings.
"And the berry pie contest came along because it’s berry season, so why not throw that in?" she said.
She added that the fair, like other museum events, has been growing in size and popularity.
"It’s growing a lot. We’re getting a lot more vendors," Shaler said. "Last year, in fact for every event we have now, we have vendors asking us 'When can I sign up for the next year, or for the next event?' The first year that wasn’t so true. Last year and this year it’s increasingly true. So obviously they’re doing reasonably well."
A berry pie contest on the morning of July 13 will be a part of the Boal Mansion Museum Antique Faire and Sale, July 12-14, 2019. Photo by Mary Szmolko.