Fort Massac Encampment


The 41st Annual Fort Massac Encampment

October 18-19, 2014

See what life was like back in the 1700s and early 1800s at Fort Massac State Park's 41st annual Fort Massac Encampment, which will be held at the historic site Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20th.

The 2014 Encampment will feature the thunderous boom of cannons and a tempting assortment of foods and activities from which to choose.  It is more than an old-timey crafts fair, as it pays tribute to Illinois' rich frontier history.  Historical re-enactors and skilled craftspeople representing French, British and Americans gather at the Encampment to demonstrate the skills and lifestyles of early residents in this area.

Visitors to the two-day event view military camps and buck skinner lodges, craft stalls and trade blankets, and booths with period food and drinks.  Battle re-enactments will again be held in the valley area, which Fort Massac Site Superintendent Terry Johnson says gives spectators the best view of the battle.  The crowds will be able to watch the authentically-garbed troops face off in the Battle of Drouillard Creek. 

Saturday,  Oct. 18th

10:00 am: Posting of Colours at forts
10:30 am: 42nd Royal Highlanders Bagpipe Band
10:30 am - 4 pm: Storytellers, Face Painting & Magic Show, at children’s area
11 am - 3 pm: Music of 18th Century by  various entertainers
11:30 am: Voyageurs canoe landing at riverfront
1 pm: Fashion Show at small stage
3 pm: Mock Battle and Military Tactical Demonstration,
5 pm: Military Retreat Closing  Ceremony at Forts

Sunday,  Oct. 19th

9:00 am: Church Service 
10:00 am: Posting of Colours at forts
10:30 am: 42nd Royal Highlanders Bagpipe Band at parade grounds
10:30 am - 4:00 pm: Storytellers, Face Painting and Magic Show at children’s activity    area
11:00 am - 3:00 pm: Music of 18th Century performed by various entertainers
11:30 am: Voyageurs canoe landing at riverfront
1:00 pm: Fashion Show, at small stage
3:00 pm: Mock Battle and Military Tactical Demonstration, at battlefield
4:30 pm: Military Retreat Closing Ceremony at forts

The people and activities of the Encampment give a general picture of the area from roughly 1750 to the early 1800s.  Included are colorful sights, tantalizing smells, fabulous tastes and stirring music.

Participants in the Encampment include French, British, Colonial, Spanish and other military units; buck skinners and traders who dealt in the exploration and fur trade of the early territory; Native Americans; music groups; crafters and food vendors; and others.  Re-enactor groups represent different time periods and areas in early Illinois history, and all groups that camp stay in tents or teepees that are historically accurate for the time period and people represented by that group.

Military re-enactors camping, set up camps using materials and techniques of the 18th century, and authentically uniformed troops engage in mock battles and tactical demonstrations each day.  The battles do not portray any specific battle — none of the French, British or American soldiers actually stationed at the fort ever saw real battle there.  The battles do depict how a typical battle of those times between French, British and Colonial troops and their Indian allies might have looked.

Visitors can watch a spinner turn carded wool into fine thread and a leatherworker create sturdy moccasins from a blank span of leather.  The blacksmith's forge is easy to find — just listen for the clang of hammer on anvil.

Keeping company in the air with the fragrance of herbs and dried flowers is the music of many instruments. The melodies of dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, recorder and flute blend with sweet voices to sing songs of days long gone.  Bagpipes, fifes and drums join voices to lift hearts and stir imaginations with Revolutionary War music.  Guests can watch as uniformed troops march to the same music once played on the ground where the guests now stand.

For those who find that lively music, crisp autumn leaves and the smell of wood smoke from cooking fires have sharpened their appetites, the problem is not finding something to eat but deciding what to choose.  From ham and beans, barbecue, pies, cookies and caramel-covered apples, to lemonade and root beer, there is something to please every palate.

During the Encampment, children get their own special activities, too.  Each year offers something different.  Past years have included storytellers, like Mother Goose, with folktales and legends as well as face painting, a juggler and a magic show.  Schoolchildren from around the southern Illinois and western Kentucky region will again visit the park on Friday before the Encampment.  The popular event has grown each year.

Parking and shuttle service will be offered in the open field area next to the park’s Trout Pond on U.S. 45.

Always held the third weekend in October, the Encampment opens each day at 10 a.m. with posting of the colors ceremonies.  Encampment participants and visitors assemble for a march and for the raising of the flags.  Saturday activities end at 5 p.m. and Sunday the Encampment will draw to a close at 4:30 p.m. For more information call Fort Massac State park at 618-524-4712.

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