Stockade celebrates history with walking tour

New York's oldest historical district will be a busy place next weekend during its 47th annual Walkabout, which features tours of area homes dating back to the 1690s.

Some of the homes in the historic Stockade District are restored to the time period during which they were originally constructed while others have some unique personal touches added to them over the years, according to Gail Kehn, vice president of visitor services for the Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce.

It really is a lot of fun, and it's something that people of all ages can enjoy, Kehn said, noting that the daylong event incorporates much more than the approximately 20 public and private buildings opened for history buffs.

Kehn said there will be music in the street, carriage rides, historical characters dressed in period attire wandering about or conducting tours, and entertainment, such as a children's fun zone and Colonial artisans and demonstrations in Riverfront Park, which is adjacent to the Stockade.

Advance tickets for the Walkabout and waterfront fair are available for $15 ($7 for children); they will cost $20 if purchased the day of the event. The Walkabout and fair begin at 11 a.m. and last until 5 p.m.

Visitors can park in the Schenectady County Community College parking lot and either take the trolley making regular round trips to the Stockade, or walk the short distance to the historic district.

Any money left over after paying expenses for hosting the event goes to the three sponsors of the Walkabout: the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp., the Schenectady Historical Society and the Stockade Association.

"The event doesn't make a lot of money, but the money that it does make goes back into the community," Kehn said. She said that the Stockade Association and Historical Society usually use any money they receive for improvements to the Stockade.

Visitors who purchase house tour tickets will also be able to watch the parade of boats from Schenectady Yacht Club and other area marinas, tour the original Erie Canal site, take a historic boat ride, visit an archaeological dig at an historic house garden, and take a trolley ride. Among the Colonial artists in the park will be a blacksmith or broom maker.

The four Stockade restaurants will be serving food along the waterfront, as will a number of street vendors.

"It's a real fun event," Kehn said. "It is. If you're at all into history, you'll enjoy it.""

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