OSWEGO, NY – The recreated armies of King George III and General George Washington will converge on historic Fort Ontario in Oswego for two days of living history activities on Aug. 14-15.
The National Encampment of BAR was last held at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in 1996 and will feature volunteer reenactors from around the United States and Canada.
These individuals are donating their time and travel expenses to interpret Oswegoâ€™s significant role in our nationâ€™s history.
Tactical weapons demonstrations will occur at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but there is much more to the event than battle reenactments.
Shari Crawford, of â€œ18th Century Toys and Games,â€ and AmeriCorps volunteer Brittany Patterson, will teach children how to play the games of colonial Americans such as Hoops, Bat and Trap, Cup and Ball, Shinny, Skittles, Stilts, Quoits and others.
Depending on where oneâ€™s loyalties lie, a face painter will decorate faces with the red, white, and blue of the flag of Great Britain or the United Colonies, or other historic designs.
Colonial merchants, most of whom prefer hard money to credit, will hawk their reproduction wares featuring the latest styles of petticoats, shifts, hats, waistcoats, breeches, buttons, leather belts, bags, and more.
An Armorer will tune up muskets, fowling pieces, and rifles for hunting or militia duty.
Ladies of the BAR will set up in the shade and demonstrate sewing techniques and discuss other aspects of womenâ€™s life of the 18th century.
A narrated fashion show will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday for those wishing to learn more about military uniforms, womenâ€™s clothing, weapons, and accoutrements of the War for Independence.
Historian Missy Clark will perform a first person impression of a Scottish servant to Abigail Adams on Saturday at noon.
Soon afterwards, at 12:30 p.m., an â€œIndentured Servant Auctionâ€ will be held for those needing help in the shop, farm, or house.
Tradesmen and women of means wishing to bid on servants must be of good character, post a bond, guarantee food and board, and provide the servant with a new suit of clothing and tools upon expiration of the six year term of servitude.
Crown forces will be camped inside the fort since it was garrisoned by the British during the Revolutionary War (1775 â€“ 1783); Continental troops will encamp outside the fort.
Guests are welcome to tour the military camps during public hours (10 a.m. â€“ 4:30 p.m.), but activities will cease at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Period refreshments such as cider, tea, coffee, water, and light snacks will available in the colonial tavern inside the fort.
Period music will echo through the fort during the encampment and will be provided by the group â€œLiasonâ€™s Plaisantes.â€
Rebels and Redcoats alike may meet on neutral ground for a friendly game of Cricket on Saturday after the tactical weapons demonstration.
Regular admission to the fort will be charged (age 12 and under free) during the National Encampment; a program schedule is available at fortontario.com
Due to the popularity of this event and use of the grounds for troop movements limited parking is available on site; visitors should be prepared to park in lots and on streets around the fort.
Fort Ontario (343-4711) is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in the city of Oswego.
Anyone interested in getting involved in Revolutionary War living history is encouraged to visit the BAR website at www.brigade.org
Fort Ontario State Historic Site is one of six historic sites and 18 parks in the Central Region administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Carol Ash – commissioner.
For more information, visit www.nysparks.com