Festival celebrates New Market’s past

By Ryan Cornell

NEW MARKET — Clyde Jenkins takes a strip of white oak wood and feeds it through the bottom of the basket in his hands.

Jenkins, a Page County resident, said he’s been making baskets since he taught himself the craft as a young child.

Unlike most basket weavers, he said none of the materials he uses are purchased or prepared. He said he searches the forest for young white oak trees — according to him, they’re the only trees that pull apart by their growth rings — about 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

Jenkins said the baskets are what the settlers in Colonial America would have used.

“They were used for everything in everyday life,” he said. “They were the brown paper bag of the day.”

Jenkins was just one of the many artisans, crafters and vendors lining the sidewalks of Congress Street on Saturday and Sunday for New Market’s 20th annual Heritage Days Festival.

Organized by the New Market Area Chamber of Commerce, the festival featured nearly 50 of these vendors as well as live music, a scavenger hunt and a petting zoo.

According to Chamber board member Tom Constable, about twice as many visitors filled the town this weekend more than last year’s festival.

New Market Mayor Doug Bradley was in high spirits as he attended the festival on Saturday.

“Everything is going great,” he said. “It’s good to see all the people and the turnout we have. It’s just a beautiful day, the weather is with us and I can’t say enough good things.”

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com