Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jane Austen Festival: Part 2

The fans were aflutter yesterday at the Jane Austen Festival held on the grounds of Locust Grove Historic Home. It was a lovely setting - hot but with plenty of shade and an occasional cool breeze. 

I arrived just after the gates opened at 10 a.m. - the gates being four women on either side of the entrance collecting the $12 fee and giving directions to parking. It all went very smoothly and within minutes I was surrounded by women and men dressed in Regency fashions. Bonnets and reticules and Empire-waisted frocks abounded. It was really quite delightful.
Two friends showing off parasol and bonnet

This handsome couple was visiting from Canada

Cute Nora Sweeney
Isn't she perfect?

I was hoping to snatch a seat at one of the five teas that were being held but they were all sold out. 

On the grounds women and men paraded about among the trees and sauntered in and out of the tents set up as shops selling all sorts of period jewelry, parasols, floor cloths, bonnets and hats, and chatelaines. Some folks rested at picnic tables. I found a nice long bench in the shade of the house and just people-watched for a while. 

The large main tent was set up with chairs and hosted a play, a Regency fashion show, and a entertaining presentation called "Dressing Mr. Darcy" in which a handsome young man, Brian Cushing, deconstructed what men wore in Ms. Austen's time: the hat, the cravat, the waistcoat, the braces (suspenders), the undershirt, the pants, socks, and boots. 

Mr. Darcy Before...

...and Mr. Darcy after.

From the style show:
Love the feathered hat!

The jacket comes off ...

That blur is her fan

A gentlemen farmer

I saw a bare-knuckle boxing match and a duel between gentlemen. A fellow with a sedan chair was giving short rides. 
Bare-knuckle fight

The loser in the duel between gentlemen

One mode of transportation - the sedan chair

My favorite booth was the paper marbling demonstration by artisan John Bielik from Missouri.  It is always fascinating to watch an artist at work and John certainly kept his audience engaged. Of course I had to purchase a sample of his work in the form of a small notebook with a marbled paper cover. 
Artisan John Bielik works his paper marbling magic

Using a comb, John marbles the paint

A finished product

I chatted with some of the Janeites and discovered they were from as far away as Ontario, Canada and Dallas, Texas. Others were from closer to home, Columbus, Ohio and Frankfort, Kentucky. Most of the ones I spoke with had previously attended this festival, now in its sixth year.
Melissa from Frankfort sporting a Regency turban

By 1:30 I was worn out from the heat and the activity. I can't imagine how warm some of the women were and especially the men in their heavy coats. I left before the panel discussion with authors of books of sequels and alternative endings to Austen's works. That wasn't happening until 3:30 and I would have melted into just a little damp puddle on the ground by then. 

There was to be a Grand Ball last evening and tickets to that were sold out. I am sure it was a success.

The event organizers are to be applauded. The festival was well-attended and today, Sunday, is another day for people to enjoy - more teas and the same activities and events. It was a very civilized and elegant affair.


  1. Wonderful report and photos Belle!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome, Tullik. It was a fun event.

  2. Enjoyed this post. I guess you could say I can take or leave Jane Austen as a writer, but is always kind of interesting to see how they lived in other times (unless the whole event becomes too commercialized.) Thanks for sharing your photos and comments.

    Joyce in KS

    1. I was fascinated that so many of the visitors came dressed in Regency fashions. And, the setting - an 18th century home - was so least we weren't in the middle of a parking lot or a cow pasture! The vendors were fitting for the era, too, which I was happy to see.

  3. What fun it is to see your photos and hear of the events, Belle.
    Mr. Darcy doesn't seem quite so romantic dressed down to his undies.
    Now, viewing this, I have an urge to watch Cranford againd.

    1. Mr. Darcy was quite charming - dressed or not. That shirt, I learned, was really underwear which kept body oils off the outer garments. It could be laundered so much easier than the vest and waistcoat. The men also wore long stockings held up with garters. We didn't get to see those! It was a PG-rated event, Penny!

  4. What a wonderful event! It looks like there were a lot of things of interest, despite the heat. I don't know how people survived in the hot summer months in the south in what they used to wear. I die in my shorts and T-shirt!

    1. It was quite sticky that day, but it was a lovely shady setting. I was glad I was in capris and short sleeves!

  5. This in the Guardian this morning:

    1. Thanks Tullik. Glad to see Our Jane will grace the ten pound note. We only honor dead white men on our American currency, although we do have Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea dollar coins. They aren't used much.

  6. Loved this, thanks for sharing this.
    Bonny Wise, one of the festival organizers : )

    1. Hi Bonny. I was very impressed with the festival and I know that much hard work went into making it successful. I was so happy that I could attend. Next year, I will sign up for the tea well in advance! Thanks for a great event!