History comes alive

Published 7:42 am Thursday, October 18, 2007

By Staff
NILES – Support the Fort, Inc invites the public to the Fort Saint Joseph Living History Fair this Saturday. The event will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the event is free.
South Riverfront Park on Bond Street (at the French Paper Dam) is the site for the event. This is a continuation of Education Day, which is held on Friday for the fourth grade students from area schools.
Six villages with 24 presenters will be manned by Michigan and Michiana re-enactors who will be plying their trades/skills and open to questions from the public. The reenactors will demonstrate and talk about life circa 1750 when Michigan's early fur trade history was vibrant. They are: domestic arts, military, voyageur, Native American, modern professional historians/archaeology and period music.
Niles resident and award winning author Cheri Hallwood will be sharing her stories. A period fashion show will be held during the event. Military drills will be held that the public can participate in and perhaps even a press gang could occur.
Kevin Finny will have his conical bark lodge in the Native village and the public is invited to take a look and ask questions. Voyageurs will have real birch bark canoes and furs on display.
They are honored to have representatives of the Sons of the Revolution for the opening and closing color ceremonies. The Sons of the Revolution will be in the area for their fall gathering and meeting.
"Support the Fort is excited to offer this event to the public as well as the children of the schools. Education Day is designed to enrich the student's knowledge about local Michigan history and the connection of this area to the world through trade. We are also pleased that we have expanded this event by asking more reenactors to demonstrate their trade from previous Education Days," Chairperson Janine Horrigan said.
Education Day is designed to aid the students in their MEAP testing. Education Days is almost like the resurgence of the former Rendezvous event.
It is an outdoor educational classroom that demonstrates different aspects of life at the fort. There will be re-enactors in period clothing who will be cooking and living by the campfire. There will also be lots of storytelling, how-to sessions and demonstrations ranging from military drills to spinning. An even greater emphasis is placed on educating children in the ways of pioneer life. Educational demonstrations for groups of registered children are held on specific days during the event. There's sure to be lots of fun at this year's Support The Fort, Inc.'s Education Days.
Education Days is for students on Friday, however, the public is invited to the event, being held in Riverfront Park near the French Paper Dam, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information about the event, call 683-1786 or 687-0377.