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For fans of Jane Austen, one of the must-attend events of the year is the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, put on by the Jane Austen Society of North America Louisville Chapter.  This weekend, we enjoyed our third visit to the festival, which is now in its 7th year.  I applaud the many women and men who work hard all year so we can spend a day living this beautiful era in history.

Held at historic Locust Grove, the festival is always a wonderful feast of colors, sights, and smells. We enjoy the vendors, the author talks, the fashion show, the food, and the people. I was lucky to be approached by several fans of the blog-it was a real treat to talk with these women and one gave me a lead on getting some new dresses for next year’s event (thank you Stephanie!).

I’ve put together a photo tour of our day. For once, the weather was tolerably cool and we only saw a few clouds and spits of rain. I wish I could convey the feel of the event to you in the photos-the gentility of the men, the kindness of the ladies, the feeling of calm, of not being in a rush, of walking and just enjoying the company of the girls and the beautiful sights around us. It’s such a contrast to the outside world! Of course, the use of iPhones in the midst of all that historic scenery makes me giggle a little but it would be a waste to not capture as much of the beauty of it in photos. I did really love the fact that the family that runs Bingley Tea’s dresses in historic clothing, has a beautiful canvas sales tent and uses a smart phone as a cash register!

Lily, Ella and I on the morning of the festival.  These dresses are so comfortable.  Straw bonnets will make your head itch, though!

Lily, Ella and I on the morning of the festival. These dresses are so comfortable. Straw bonnets will make your head itch, though!

We loved these hand-painted shoes on the silent auction table.

We loved these hand-painted shoes on the silent auction table.

The Locust Grove estate is the perfect setting for this event. It's lush, green lawns leave plenty of space for everyone.

The Locust Grove estate is the perfect setting for this event. It’s expansive lawns leave plenty of space for everyone.

This young lady was swirling paints to make stain beautiful stationery and notebooks.

This young lady was swirling paints to stain beautiful stationery and notebooks.

A highlight for me was the author talk! This is Jo Baker, author of "Longbourne."

A highlight for me was the author talk! This is Jo Baker, author of “Longbourne.”

I tried to pack an authentic picnic lunch.

I tried to pack an authentic picnic lunch.

These young people were playing lawn tennis while we ate our lunch.

These young people were playing lawn tennis while we ate our lunch.

One of the cool new features this year was the military encampment. This table gives you a sense of the provisions provided to the men-a good lesson for the girls!

One of the cool new features this year was the military encampment. This table gives you a sense of the provisions provided to the men-a good lesson for the girls!

In the encampment

In the encampment

I loved this display. I think they gathered letters from volunteers a month ago and presented them to the military men in a packet, like they would have gotten while in service. I was so sad that I ran out of time to include one from us!

I loved this display. I think they gathered letters from volunteers a month ago and presented them to the military men in a packet, like they would have gotten while in service. I was so sad that I ran out of time to include one from us!

Yep, there was a table with real leeches! Hooray for modern medicine!

Yep, there was a table with real leeches! Hooray for modern medicine!

We wandered down to the creek this year, to this little outbuilding.

We wandered down to the creek this year, to this little outbuilding.

These ladies were lined up for the fashion show-always one of my favorite parts of the festival!

These ladies were lined up for the fashion show-always one of my favorite parts of the festival!

We LOVE the shadow puppets. This guy has an amazing reading voice and his wife does the puppets behind the screen.  It's a bit dark down there in the basement so please excuse the softness of the photo!

We LOVE the shadow puppets. This guy has an amazing reading voice and his wife does the puppets behind the screen. It’s a bit dark down there in the basement so please excuse the softness of the photo!

The girls annual photo on the porch.

The girls’ annual photo on the porch.

I HOPE we broke the world record this year for most people promenading in Regency wear. It sure seemed like we had more people!

I HOPE we broke the world record this year for most people promenading in Regency wear. It sure seemed like we had more people!

Lily started drinking milk in her tea after her visit to England last year.  Her favorite flavor of Bingley's is Marianne's Wild Abandon.

Lily started drinking milk in her tea after her visit to England last year. Her favorite flavor of Bingley’s is Marianne’s Wild Abandon.

I thought Ella's teacup was so beautiful! Her favorite flavor is Mrs. Jenning's Delight.  I think we each drank 12 cups of tea!

I thought Ella’s teacup was so beautiful! Her favorite flavor is Mrs. Jenning’s Delight. I think we each drank 12 cups of tea!

This year's menu. Let me tell you, that Pimento Cheese/Benedictine stack is SO YUMMY. I don't know what's in it, besides pimento, but MMMMM.

This year’s menu. Let me tell you, that Pimento Cheese/Benedictine stack is SO YUMMY. I don’t know what’s in it, besides pimento, but MMMMM.

Yummy tea food!

Yummy tea food!

We all three of us had Mr. Darcy's Favorite Lemon cake. It was divine-tart and really delicious!!

We all had Mr. Darcy’s Favorite Lemon cake. It was divine-tart and really delicious!!

And I was so sad to leave. It’s hard to wait a whole year for the next festival but next year, we hope to attend the ball and you know that means-new dresses! We also hope to jazz up our day wardrobe. In the meantime, we’ll be drinking the many boxes of tea we bought and reading Jane over and over again.

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