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Old Fort Niagara opens reenactment season with Patriots Day Weekend

The Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, launched the American Revolution a long time ago, but its history will be retold and re-enacted Saturday and next Sunday at Old Fort Niagara during “Patriots Day Weekend.”

The event kicks off the fort’s re-enactment season and it will also honor all U.S.military service people, who will be admitted free, with proper identification.

A ceremony is planned for 2 p.m Saturday to award special plaques to Staff Sgt. David Bellavia, U.S. Army, an Iraq War hero who receive the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and was nominated for a Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross; he had been inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame.

Also to be honored posthumously will be Master Sgt. Paul Baumgarte, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II, who specialized in electronics, computers and in the development of nuclear weapons.

Volunteer re-enactors from Hoisington's New York Rangers sponsor this annual event with the help of Brant's Volunteers, 64th Regiment of Foot, and Fort McIntosh Garrison re-enactment units. They will portray Colonial Rebels, Colonial Loyalist and British Redcoats and present musket-firing and clothing demonstrations, 18th century military drills and be available to meet with visitors and answer questions. Visitors will also be able to "enlist" as a rebel or loyalist and participate in mock battles using wooden muskets.

Programming begins each day at 10 a.m. with an assembly of re-enactors on the parade grounds and ends at 4:15 p.m. with musket firing demonstrations.

The entire schedule may be found at: www.oldfortniagara.org. Additionally, guided tours of Old Fort Niagara will be available both days and are included in admission.

Daily admission to Patriots Day Weekend is $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12, free for children ages 5 and under, and free for Old Fort Niagara Association members. Veterans and active military service people will be admitted free with proper ID.

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