YOUNGSTOWN – Old Fort Niagara’s timeline spans more than four centuries, from the earliest relationships with the Native Americans through the Cold War. It will present this range of history through re-enactments and demonstrations during the “Soldiers Through the Ages” annual event Saturday and next Sunday.
The public is invited to learn about the evolution of weaponry, tactics, vehicles and historic clothing with an identical schedule of events planned for both days.
At 10 a.m., re-enactors will parade across the fort’s lawn and present their colors in a ceremony. This will be followed at 10:30 a.m. by a musket demonstration, as staff teaches how a musket is loaded and fired.
A presentation at 11:30 a.m. will highlight how weapons and tactics changed from 1645 to 1945, from Native American weaponry and the 17th century matchlock through the infantry weapons of World War II.
An artillery demonstration follows at noon when the fort staff will fire an 18th-century cannon.
A uniform program is planned for 1 p.m., featuring the attributes of wool, leather and cotton attire. This will be followed by a musket demonstration at 1:30 p.m.
Military music will fill the air at 2 p.m., with the sounds of fifes and drums, followed by a repeat performance of the weapons and tactics program at 3 p.m.
A military music performance is planned again at 4 p.m.
On both days the fort will feature living history camps, trades demonstrations, rations through time, military vehicles and a command post at the 1762 Provisions Storehouse.
The cost to attend this special program is included in regular admission to the fort – $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under and members of Old Fort Niagara.
The fort also has special plans for Memorial Day. The Lake Ontario Post 313 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold a special memorial service at 11 a.m. May 25 at the historic Fort Niagara Cemetery. The public is invited.
In addition, re-enactments will continue to be a highlight at the following spring and summer events: Rebels and Redcoats set for June 6-7; the popular French and Indian War Encampment returns July 3-5; Soldiers of the Revolution will be presented Aug. 1-2; and the War of 1812 Encampment is slated for Sept. 5-6.
The fort, which is located in Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the nonprofit Old Fort Niagara Association in cooperation with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information, visit: www.oldfortniagara.org.