Last Updated: May 16th, 2014 - 12:32:22


Rare dogs, Czech Baked Goods and Face Painting Draw a Crowd at Prince George Fair
By Caitlin Davis
Oct 17, 2012, 18:30

photo by Caitin Davis “I want a zombie on this side and a fireball on the other.” John Robert Callis, IV gets his face painted at the Prince George Heritage Center Faire.

Prince George residents and their neighbors got together on Saturday for the second annual Heritage Faire. The lawn outside the county’s Regional Heritage Center played host to everything from a Czechoslovakian bake sale to a plant sale and a breed of rare German dogs.

Carol Bowman, Executive Director of the Heritage Center, said visitors who were returning to the fair for a second visit had noticed it grew in size since last year. This year, exhibits and a special Christmas shop were added to the docket of activities.

The proceeds from the Faire will go towards updating one of the Heritage Center’s buildings with by outfitting it with fire protection and installing new security features and electrical work, all totaling around $200,000. Adding the exhibits planned for the space will add to that total.

Bowman says she hopes the project will be completed by the end of next year, if the Cameron Foundation approved the grant application Bowman submitted.

“We expect to get word very shortly,” she said.

On Saturday, the the Czech Bakery attracted a stream of people throughout the morning and afternoon. The bakers packaging up traditional Czech treats had been hard at work for over a month to get ready for that weekend.

Marie Blaha-Pearson, of Hopewell, said everything for sale was authentic food from the Czechoslovakian culture.

“We are descents of the Czech or Slovak heritage,” Pearson said. “The recipes are handed down from our grandparents, each one of us.”

Prince George County attracted a large population of Czech and Slovak immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Many of the descendants of those immigrants still live in the county today and the bake sale represented that aspect of the county’s history.

Under the tent were rows and rows of apple strudels, poppy seed rolls, peanut rolls and homemade brown sugar bread.

“People stand in line for our apple strudels,” Pearson said. “They also like the poppy seed rolls and peanut rolls.”

Patty and Dot Munford, of Prince George, were just two of many sampling the baked goods at the Faire. Both ladies described the treats with the word, “Yum.”
photo by Caitlin Davis "I do believe I will take another." Dot Munford and Patty Munford, of Prince George, sample homemade goods from the Czech-Slovak Bake Sale.

Betty Baucom, of Norfolk, traveled to Prince George to assist in the baking for the Faire. She said Pearson and she are baking buddies.

Baucom said the baked goods are not only tasty, but meant to fill the stomach.

“It is good, hearty food,” Baucom said. “It was made for a big family. It sticks to your ribs.”

Money from the bake sale will go towards the Czech Gallery at the Heritage Center, a gallery that Pearson hopes to be able to donate more money to this year.

“That’s our goal, to exceed $300,” Pearson said.

She said things were off to a good start, since people were standing in line when they arrived to set up for the faire that morning.

As adults perused the goods at the bake sale, plant sale, a Christmas shop, silent auction and yard sale, children checked out the toys on sale and the face painting and balloon animal stations.

The faire also showcased the Leonberger, a rare German dog breed. The breed originated in the town of Leonberger, Germany in the 1840s. After World War II, only eight of the dogs remained.
photo by Caitlin Davis Brenda Frye, of Prince George, shows off a rare dog breed, the Leonberger, at the Prince George Country Heritage Center Faire.

The owner, Brenda Frye, of Prince George breeds the dogs, and owns a total of eight.

“I love the dogs,” Frye said. “I am very proud of them.”

Frye brought Havoc, who is three, and Faeshin, who is only three months old, to the fair on Saturday.

Frye said only 8,000 of the dogs exist right now in the United States, with only 25 to 30 litters being born in the U.S. every year. She said Virginia, home to seven breeders, has the second largest population of the dogs in the country, exceeded only by Ohio and its eight breeders.

Frye said dogs have been on her wish list since she was six years old. She had to fly out to Texas to pick up her fist Leonberger to bring home to Prince George County.

Bowman declared the fair a success and hopes next year’s event will be even bigger.

“It’s great,” Bowman said, surveying the crowd on Saturday. “It has exceeded our expectations. It is just wonderful.”

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