YOUNGSTOWN – An historic turning point that occurred two centuries ago will be commemorated in style Saturday and Sunday as Old Fort Niagara marks the Bicentennial of the Fort’s dramatic capture by British forces in 1813.
Visitors will have the chance to listen to two noted War of 1812 scholars and experience a thrilling re-enactment of the capture on Saturday, as well as witness battle demonstrations, musket and artillery firings, 1812 uniform programs and Regency period country dancing both days.
Re-enactors will recreate the 1813 British assault that captured the Fort at dusk on Saturday, on the very same ground as the original December attack 200 years ago.
“We will commemorate that date on a smaller scale, but we moved this event to late August, early September so that people could enjoy sitting on the grass (in warm weather) and watching the re-enactment,” said Robert L. Emerson, the Fort’s executive director.
The event kicks off with a flag-raising ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by an infantry exercise with musket firings at 10:15 a.m. At 11 a.m., a Regency Ladies Tea is planned, as well as musket demonstrations, followed by a noon artillery demonstration. At 1 p.m., the Uniforms of the War of 1812 will be presented, followed by Regency English Country Dancing at 1:30 p.m. and a recruiting demonstration for children at 2 p.m. At 3 p.m., an afternoon battle re-enactment will occur, followed by demonstrations of artillery at 4 p.m. and muskets at 5 p.m. A guided tour of the Fort begins at 6 p.m.
Two noted 1812 scholars will travel to Old Fort Niagara Saturday, with Lt. Col. Richard V. Barbuto from Leavenworth, Kan., addressing “The War on Niagara” at 11 a.m. and Gregory Kloten of Wethersfield, Conn., speaking about Capt. George Howard of the 25th U.S. Infantry Regiment at 12:30 p.m.
Saturday evening’s program begins at 7:15 p.m. with a bagpipe concert by the MacKenzie Highlanders Pipes and Drums, followed by an 8 p.m. dramatic twilight re-enactment of the British assault on the Fort in December 2013. For safety reasons, no one will be admitted to the Fort after 7 p.m.
Sunday’s activities also begin with the flag-raising ceremony at 10 a.m., followed by an infantry exercise with musket firings at 10:15 a.m. Musket demonstrations continue at 11 a.m., followed by a noon artillery demonstration. The Uniforms of War of 1812 presentation will be offered at 1 p.m., followed by Regency English Country Dancing at 1:30 p.m. and a recruiting demonstration at 2 p.m. The afternoon battle re-enactment is planned for 3 p.m., followed by an artillery demonstration at 4 p.m. to conclude the weekend. “The night battle on Saturday will be the highlight, but we encourage people to come early both days because there are many activities planned all day Saturday and Sunday,” said Emerson.
The event is sponsored by M&T Bank, the Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council and the Niagara County Committee of the Niagara River Greenway Commission.
For more information, visit www.oldfortniagara.org.