We took a stroll yesterday, getting off the blacktop to enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the Iroquois Village. It’s another one-a-year Fair locale we love, but so different from anything else on the grounds.
Take, for instance the 17th century Longhouse, an authentic portrayal of how the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse) lived long before the area was named New York. There’s always a friendly staff person on hand to answer questions about how the structure was built, heated and insulated and how it’s inhabitants lived and cooked. There are examples of early tools and crafts and posters documenting construction of the building.
Nearby, there are rustic structures exhibiting works of native handiwork including amazing beadwork on pillows, moccasins, quilts, some as fine as you would see in a museum. Iroquois-grown vegetables prove that farming is still a valued skill.
A handmade dugout canoe sits in the yard, near ear of corn obelisk and a peace pipe sculpture, icons of the Six-Nations culture. Amateur archers can try their skill at the rate of five arrows for $2.
There are six-to-eight shacks with crafts–handmade jewelry, beaded items and dream catchers, many items sold by artists. Indeed, some artists are working on pieces as you watch. Mohawk Wood carver Tracy Thomas, carves and sells intricate canes, walking sticks and plaques with native designs.
Browse all types of jewelry, including turquois, precious metals and rare stones. There are some mass-produced toys, but they’re easy to spot. Handmade moccasins, including adorable baby sizes are hard to find elsewhere.
The Six-Nations Cookhouse features home-cooked meals, such as turkey, chicken and biscuits, spaghetti and mac and cheese, for those who’ve had enough deep-fried everything.
The cookhouse is known for its hearty breakfast.
Demonstrations of Iroquois dancing and music are staged several times a day, one of the Fair’s great traditions. You can spend money in the village, but you can also have a great time for free. Photos by Nick LoPresti.