It’s sometimes called “the forgotten war,” and this weekend, local residents will have a chance to learn more about the War of 1812 in a unique way.
Old Fort Niagara is presenting its final re-enactment of the season on Spet. 3 and 4. The War of 1812 Encampment will feature about 150 re-enactors from New York, Ontario, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Fort Executive Director Robert Emerson said the highlight of the weekend will be Saturday’s special programming.
“It takes place right after dusk and it recreates the British assault on the fort that happened December 19, 1813,” Emerson said. “That’s a very popular activity during the weekend’s program, but there’s also things going on throughout the day.”
There will be numerous activities throughout the weekend. On Saturday, a musket demonstration will be held at 5 p.m., followed by a guided tour at 6 p.m. A concert by the Mackenzie Highlanders’ Pipes and Drums starts at 7:15 p.m., followed by the re-enactment of the Capture of Fort Niagara that begins at 8 p.m.
Living history activities begin at 9 a.m. daily with an artillery demonstration at noon. Battle re-enactments start at 2 p.m.
The War of 1812 Encampment will also feature kids’ games on Sunday at 3 p.m., which is followed by an artillery demonstration at 4 p.m.
“Period games are very popular,” Emerson told WBFO. “[It] especially helps to get kids off of their electronic devices and play some games that would have been popular 200 years ago. Things like games of Hoop and Bat and Trap, and that sort of thing. Things that kids can run around and work some of their energy away.”
While children can have fun at the encampment, guests of all ages can walk away with better knowledge of the conflict. Emerson said the war’s significance on the region is often overlooked.
“I think more attention gets paid to what was happening in the Chesapeake,” Emerson said. “Certainly a lot of attention gets paid to the Battle of New Orleans, but it was really the Niagara region where most of the battles and activity of the war took place. So right here in our own backyard we have the cockpit of the conflict on both sides of the river.”
Admissions into the fort for the Saturday night re-enactment of the Capture of Fort Niagara will end at 7 p.m. To ensure guest safety, the doors will be closed to incoming and outgoing visitors until about 9 p.m.
Fort admission is $12 per adult, $8 per child ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under. Members of the fort are admitted free and group discounts are available. Please visit oldfortniagara.org for more details.