As a young re-enactor, I practiced a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul while accumulating my outfit. My problem was increased for several years because I was stationed in Europe where the hobby was slow to catch on. I would have given a lot to have been able to visit an eighteenth century trade fair like the one hosted by Fort Boonesborough. The wide variety, lower prices and proven goods would have made creating and outfitting my persona much easier.
This trade fair had several trade blankets. Each trade blanket was covered with articles of outgrown clothing, replaced powder horns and pouches and other items that just begged to be associated with a re-enactors outfit. These items had been juried and used for several years so came with a patina of wear. Even better, the items were affordable.
Seasoned re-enactors benefit as well. As our period personas evolve, we find ourselves needing new accouterments and clothing. At a trade fair, we may find someone who has outgrown just what we are looking for --- and at a buyable price. At Fort Boonesborough, for example, I found a sundial compass for five dollars.
The wide variety, lower prices and proven goods, at eighteenth century trade fairs, make it easier for a beginner to create and outfit a living history persona. These events also provide an avenue for more experienced re-enactors to tweak their persona. Visiting, shopping at (or selling at) these events benefits all re-enactors