What would Hannah Cheever say?
As an innkeeper of the early 1800s, she surely handled her share of rowdy patrons, but scores of squealing children circling her house, looking for the tent of fun and a hot dog to go with it?
That is what's in store this weekend for Cheever's little crossroads village in Willistown Township, where word has it she ran the Sugartown Inn.
This is the fifth year for "Celebrate Spring at Historic Sugartown," a major fund-raiser for the nonprofit corporation that restored the village. A gaggle of children's 18th- and 19th-century games beneath a tent - the tent of fun - dot an eclectic schedule, designed more with glee than a dogged devotion to historical accuracy. (Hot dogs will join early American favorites crabcakes and barbecue ribs.)
Cheever's 1835 residence stands with other structures restored by Historic Sugartown, incorporated in 1982. Once at a heavily traveled crossroads, the village was bypassed as Routes 3 and 30 and Paoli Pike took on motor traffic.
"The wonderful part of this is that it really was a forgotten crossroads," said Joy Hartshorn, chairwoman of the fund-raiser.
Situated at Sugartown, Boot and Spring Roads, Historic Sugartown is a pastoral cluster of fields, fieldstone and stucco. There are the school and the schoolmaster's house, raised in the 1780s by the Goshen Friends Meeting. Today, they form the Nagy family's private residence. John Nagy, who died a year ago, helped found Historic Sugartown.
There are the saddler's shop and house, circa 1810, and the General Store, restored to its 1880s appearance with an interior to match. But it is the William Garrett House of which the Sugartown team is most proud.
Historic Sugartown moved the house about a mile, from its original site, and restored it, circa 1805. It stands near Cheever's place and the Book Bindery, housing 19th-century bookbinding tools.
Bookbinding is one of several lecture topics scheduled during the festival. Among the standouts on the speaker lineup are Dale Frens and Eric Chandlee Wilson.
Frens is the principal in Frens & Frens, the architectural firm behind the Sugartown restoration. Wilson is a prominent restorer of antique clocks who helped conserve Drexel University's Chippendale Astronomical Clock (circa 1773), reportedly one of the most complex clocks in the country.
But those squealing children need not despair. Along with the games, there will be music - bluegrass and American mountain, both of which should soothe the Confederate reenactors expected up from North Carolina. (It's not clear how they fit into the history of Sugartown.)
And who knows? Maybe some of those squeals will raise the ghost of Hannah Cheever to mingle with volunteers wandering the crowd in period costume.
Going to Sugartown
What: Celebrate Spring at Historic Sugartown.
Where: Historic Sugartown, at the juncture of Sugartown, Boot and Spring Roads, Willistown Township.
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Rain or shine.
Cost: Free admission.
Parking: Spring Road. $5 a carload.
For more information: E-mail CelebrateSpring@historicsugartown.org, or visit historicsugartown.org.
Sampler of events: Antiques appraisals: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. both days. Eighteenth-, 19th-, early 20th-century pieces; $5 per piece.
Artisans, Crafters: Demonstrations, sales.
Tours: Cheever, Garrett Houses furnished with antiques.
Lectures: Textiles in Your Historic Home, Jan Whitlock, 11 a.m. Saturday. The Fascinating World of Book Binding, noon Saturday, Sunday. Collecting and Acquiring Antique Tall Case Clocks, Eric Chandlee Wilson, 2 p.m. Saturday. How to Research the History of Your Home, Jane Dorchester, 3 p.m. Saturday. Native Plants _ Past, Present and Future, Catherine Renzi, 11 a.m. Sunday. Repointing Stone Masonry, Dale Frens, 2 p.m. Sunday.