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Old Fort Niagara launches season with appreciation night

YOUNGSTOWN – Old Fort Niagara will host a Community Appreciation Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, granting free admission to the public to tour the fort and learn about upcoming summer programming.

Guests will receive a “tour card” that orients them to information points throughout the fort.

At a number of points, there will be a question focusing on the American Revolution, and a prize for children who answer it right. Visitors who complete the tour card also will have a chance to win a prize, including; a family membership, day passes and gift certificates.

Covering the French and Indian War Encampment, American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and World Wars I and II, the fort offers guests the opportunity to “walk in the footsteps of history.” Designated a national historic landmark, the fort boasts the oldest existing 18th-century buildings and fortifications in the Great Lakes region.

“We strive to inspire visitors every day at Old Fort Niagara by sharing authentic experiences that are part of our collective history,” said Robert Emerson, the fort’s executive director. “And we share more than just military history – we demonstrate how bread was baked; how iron was turned to steel for latches, handles, belts and brooches; how wood was shaped into furniture, barrels and doors; how Natives taught and traded with us; how women helped with domestic and military duties; and a lot more.”

On May 28-29, the fort will stage the re-enactment “Soldiers Through the Ages,” tracing the fort’s history from the 17th through 20th centuries. A Civil War Garrison Weekend is planned for June 11-12, while the huge French and Indian War Encampment will take place July 2-4.

A daily summer program highlighting the British presence at the fort during the American Revolution will be featured July 6 through Aug. 20. The program will include musket and cannon firings, field music and history interpretation.

The lighthouse will be open to the public from noon to 3 p.m. daily from July 9 through Oct. 10. There will be free admission and guests must be at least four feet tall and sign a waiver.

A performance by the Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps will take place July 23, followed by a performance of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on July 31. A re-enactment of “Soldiers of the American Revolution” is scheduled for Aug. 13-14.

The re-enactment of the War of 1812 Encampment is slated for Sept. 3-4, reliving the surprise attack by the British on the fort on Dec. 19, 1813. The popular Haunted Fortress fundraiser is planned for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, and the equally busy Castle by Candlelight fund-raiser will take place Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, with decorations provided by the Youngstown Garden Club.

Old Fort Niagara is open daily year-round. Summer hours are: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through June, with extended hours, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in July and August. Admission is $12 per adult, $8 per child ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under, and free to members of Old Fort Niagara. Visit www.oldfortniagara.org for more information.