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Published: Tuesday, 5/19/2009

Fort Meigs expects over 200 re-enactors for season opener


Fort Meigs opened in April, but the state historical site's big season-opening event happens this weekend, when more than 200 re-enactors will converge at the fort.

"First Siege 1813" on Saturday and Sunday will include a "Crown Forces" event with a larger number of British soldiers than in previous years, said Rick Finch, site manager.

"This is a maximum effort for the British forces," Mr. Finch said.

A group of Canadian re-enactors representing the 41st Regiment of Foot, which fought at Fort Meigs during the War of 1812, comes to the fort every year, he said, and was interested in getting extra British re-enactors. Visitors will get to see battle demonstrations at 2 p.m. both days.

Some visitors will get to be part of the popular "1813 Patrol," in which they will accompany a squad of soldiers who get ambushed. The activity is free with admission but only available to the first 20 people - ages 8 and older - who ask for a ticket to participate in the morning patrol and 20 more in the afternoon.

"It's the closest they'll ever get to being in a re-enactment," Mr. Finch said.

Children of all ages can don a cross-belt and carry a wooden musket and learn how to drill like a War of 1812 soldier. There will be a cooking demonstration using the fort's period oven followed by a ladies' tea and craft session.

Visitors can tour American and British military encampments as well as a Woodland Indian encampment. Mr. Finch said the weekend provides plenty of activities for families and history buffs of all ages.

"It appeals to families because there's a lot to do: shopping with period vendors, all sorts of hands-on activities plus battle re-creations at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It definitely appeals to any military history buffs," he said. "We think it's a fun family outing and a pretty economical one too."

The fort, located one mile west of downtown Perrysburg on State Rt. 65, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from noon to 5 p.m. Monday. A Memorial Day commemoration ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Monday to honor those in the military.

Admission to the fort is $9 for adults, $5 for students, and $1 for members of the Ohio Historical Society. Children 5 and under are admitted free.

Also, at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, David Skaggs, professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University, will speak at the Fort Meigs Visitor Center on Gen. William Henry Harrison and his command of the Army of the Northwest during the War of 1812. His presentation is free and open to the public.

For more information, go to fortmeigs.org.

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