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Surrounded by the tall trees of Pymatuning State Park, Dave Fischer used a rough-cut but perfect-sized limb to hoist and hold the center of his canvas exhibitor’s tent Friday.

Today, he’s using prime-picked parts of cherry, maple and walnut trees — along with a few basic, well-worn tools — to demonstrate time-tested methods for creating hardwood-crafted bowls and spoons. It’s a practice he’s studied for some time, and “the way it’s been done for centuries,” Fischer said.

The Greenville man is one of roughly 60 traditional artists, crafters and exhibitors on hand for the 18th annual Pymatuning Pioneer & Art Festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 10 to 4 Sunday at Pymatuning State Park dam in Jamestown. Along with a multitude of traditional wares and demonstrations as well as plenty of food and hands-on kids’ activities (including a popular pie-eating contest, butter churning and apple-bobbing), the festival features living history displays both days; a Civil War encampment by the 150th Pennsylvania Bucktails; a Native American encampment; a Daniel Boone re-enactment by Steven Caudill of Winchester, Ky.; a Ben Franklin re-enactment by Paul Stillman and more.

Participants may also check out an antique tractor show and water rescue demonstrations by the Penn Ohio Newfoundland Club, and enjoy free boat rides on a pontoon boat provided by Pymatuning Boat Sales.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Cathy Amon, president of festival presenters the Jamestown Area Historical Society. “The whole family ... can just come and spend the day.”

The festival’s $1 per-person admission charge (parking is free) benefits the historical society as well as the Jamestown Lions Club.

“I love it,” painter and woodcrafter Rosemary Habers of Sewickley said of the festival while she was setting up some of her works Friday. “I love the park, there are definitely good neighbors and it’s well-organized.”

“Put me out in the woods,” like that, she added, “and I’m happy.”

Ryan Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at

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The 18th annual Pymatuning Pioneer & Art Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and from 10 to 4 Sunday at Pymatuning State Park dam in Jamestown. It features Civil War and native American encampments, historical re-enactors and approximately 60 traditional artists, crafters and exhibitors. Admission is $1 at the Pymatuning State Park dam.

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