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Grand Encampment and new summer program coming to Old Fort Niagara

Old Fort Niagara is planning two new events for 2018: a War of 1812 Grand Encampment July 28-29, and a daily summer program called “Flintlocks and Council Fires.” The new programs will complement popular annual events like the French and Indian War Encampment (June 29-July 1) and Castle by Candlelight (Dec. 8 and 15), along with other small to medium-sized reenactments.

The War of 1812 Grand Encampment is being touted as the largest binational 1812 event of the year and will certainly be the biggest 1812 event ever staged at the fort.

The new daily summer program will offer living history demonstrations every day, educating visitors about Niagara’s role in the development of early America.

“It’s nice to think about summer right now and plan for warmer days,” said Robert Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “Winter, spring and fall are also great times to visit the fort. We will have our Winter Woods Battle in February followed byPatriots Day in April. We are open every day at 9 a.m. and aim to provide unique experiences in all seasons.”

The Winter Woods Battle begins at 10 a.m. Feb. 17 and includes a full day of activities centering on winter life in the 18th century. There will be demonstrations of weaponry, fur trading, shelter building, fire starting, winter games, artisans and snowshoeing. Visitors can also buy a hearty 18th century meal.

The outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775 is commemorated during Patriots Day Weekend, April 21-22, with living history programs and a salute to veterans. It will be followed by Civil War Artillery School May 19-20, where reenactors practice their weaponry skills, as well as Soldiers Through the Ages on May 26-27, featuring a snapshot of soldiers from the 17th through the 20th centuries.

The Civil War Garrison event is planned for June 9-10, giving visitors a chance to travel back to the 1860s when the Union feared British intervention on the side of the Confederacy.

The fort’s largest event of the year is the French and Indian War Encampment, slated for June 29-July 1. Participants will relive the Siege of 1759, when British and New York soldiers besieged French-held Fort Niagara. The event boasts battle reenactments and large living history camps.

The new War of 1812 Grand Encampment planned for July 28-29 commemorates the fort’s role in that historic event, featuring large-scale battle reenactments and living history programs.

Soldiers of the Revolution, set for Aug. 18-19, recreates the War for Independence on the New York frontier, with battle reenactments, hands-on activities for families, plus music and games.

October features Frontier Days, an interactive program for fourth and seventh graders, which is also open to the public. Students learn about the state’s role in the American Revolution in a program sponsored by the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the state’s Connect Kids program.    

French Heritage Days are planned for Nov. 2-3, allowing visitors to explore the early French heritage of the Niagara Region, when France was a dominant power on the Great Lakes.

The popular Castle by Candlelight events return Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, when the 1726 French Castle is decorated for the season by the Youngstown Garden Club. The majestic structure is entirely lit by candles for this fundraiser. Visitors meet historical characters and witness the firing of the grand feu de joie.

For more information, visit: or call 745-7611.


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