Historical society holds Timeline Trade Fair
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Coventry - posted Wed., May. 4, 2011
Paul Garatoni’s goods represent a wide variety of periods and cultures. “I get people that question why I have such a variety of time periods,” he said. “I find a lot of different things interesting.”
Garatoni, who carries mostly jewelry, findings, beads and original and reproduction weapons, was one of the vendors at the Timeline Trade Fair held at the Strong-Porter Museum in Coventry on April 28.
“This is basically a tag sale for re-enactors, but the public was invited,” said event organizer Jim Murphy. Murphy is a member of the Coventry Historical Society, as well as a Revolutionary War re-enactor representing a member of the Ninth Regiment Foot Guard Musical Corps.
Vendors paid a fee to appear at the fair, with proceeds going to benefit the Historical Society. “We were trying to have all periods represented,” said Murphy. Represented were the Romans, the French-Indian War, the Boer War, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. “We have a lot of the periods, but not all,” said Murphy.
When you’re caring for properties that are nearly 300 years old, such as the Strong-Porter House, home to Nathan Hale’s maternal ancestors, you can never hold enough fundraisers. According to Gary Dilk, treasurer, and Ginney Dilk, director of education for the Coventry Historical Society, there is always something else that needs to be done. “With older properties, it’s just never-ending,” said Ginney.
Over the past five years, the society has re-roofed the barn, moved the blacksmith shop, fixed the foundation, and repaired damages done by the recent harsh winter. There is still water damage to the main house that needs to be fixed. Another recent project was the refurbishment of a wagon that once belonged to the local Kingswood Box Company. “It was built in town by the Armstrong Wagon Company,” said Dilk. The wagon, used to haul freight in the 1800s, will make its first appearance in its refurbished state at this year’s Memorial Day Parade.
Back at the Blackdog Trading tent, Garatoni talked up his wares. “I’ve probably got stuff from 1600 all the way to 1900,” he said. He pointed to a tray of small silver charms in various shapes. There were people, animals and various body parts such as a tooth, an arm, a leg, and even a tiny stomach. “Those are called ‘milagros,’” said Garatoni. “‘Milagros’ means ‘miracle’ in Spanish. They’re from Mexico. If you’re having a problem with your leg, you would put the leg charm on the altar and pray for healing. I like them because they’re a part of our history,” he said.