YOUNGSTOWN – Old Fort Niagara invites the public to experience what winter life was like on the 18th century Niagara Frontier from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The fort will offer programs and hands-on activities about winter survival, the Great Lakes fur trade and Native American influences. It also will include a snowshoe trek or hike, weather permitting, into the woods to witness a skirmish between re-enactors.
This event is suitable for all ages. Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather as most events occur outdoors, featuring special topics throughout the day.
At 12:30 p.m. winter clothing, bedding and heating will be discussed, helping determine how people survived a Niagara winter before electricity and central heat.
At 1:15 p.m., Great Lakes trade will be the topic, as the area’s earliest business enterprise is discussed. Talk will center on popular trade goods and furs, while participants also learn about the lives of Native Americans and “hivernants” (winter traders).
Educators from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will present a program on the history of the snowshoe at 2 p.m. Visitors will be invited to wear a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes (weather and snow conditions permitting) to accompany a patrol into the woods, east of the fort.
A skirmish will be staged between re-enactors, after which participants may enjoy complimentary hot chocolate prepared over an open fire while mingling with the re-enactors. Snowshoes are provided on a first-come, first-served basis or you can bring your own.
In addition, ongoing activities will be staged throughout the entire day, including: a chance to learn the Native American game of Snow Snakes; the opportunity to make and take a Native American cornhusk doll; a chance to make hot chocolate the 18th century way; and lessons on soldier life – learning about clothing, personal kits, weapons and equipment and the storage and preparation of food. Participants also will have a chance to join in on 18th century games.
The cost to attend these events is regular admission to the fort: $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under, and is free to members of Old Fort Niagara.
A number of knowledgeable extra volunteers will help stage this event, including; Brant’s Volunteers, Hoisington Rangers, New York Provincials and Shroth’s New York Company re-enacting units.
For more information, visit: www.oldfortniagara.org.