Christmas music played on six dulcimers filled the lobby of the Fort Meigs Visitor Center, where children — followed closely by adults trying to keep up — roamed from Father Christmas in one room to crafts and games in another.
In one of the classrooms, decorated for the Holiday Open House, Xavier Jackey of Moline, Ohio, was learning how to do bead work, with one finger pushing the white and blue beads into place and the other hand guiding a needle through them for security.
His teacher, Brian Jensen of Perrysburg, one of several vendors at the Fort Meigs event Sunday afternoon, applauded the 10-year-old’s effort.
Adding those few lines to the bracelet, stretched across a loom, was Xavier’s favorite part of the open house, he said.
“And don’t forget spending time with your grandpa,” Mr. Jensen joked, pointing to the boy’s grandfather who was sitting on a nearby bench.
Dozens of people, most of them children, toured the Perrysburg fort along West River Road for the open house. The children visited with re-enactors, some dressed as War of 1812 soldiers; played miniature war games, created crafts, and spent time with Father Christmas.
Kela Grooms, 6, of Toledo had just received her bonnet — a piece of round red foam material with flowers and ribbon attached — and her picture taken with friends when she took off her new hat, putting it on a table where her “big friend” Billie Szymanski of Holland, babysitter and Sunday school teacher, was making beaded candy canes.
“That looks very pretty on me,” she said, admiring the bonnet. “I’m having fun.”
Fun is exactly what Mike Waskul, a Fort Meigs volunteer from Ypsilanti, Mich., was hoping he would hear from the children.
“We like to get the kids involved,” he said. “They’re the future.”
He said he’s hopeful that events that draw in the public — and especially young people — will encourage a new generation of volunteers to “preserve a holy spirit,” which Mr. Waskul said is a goal of the volunteers at Fort Meigs, the largest reconstructed, wooden-walled fort in the country.
“Men fought and died here,” he said, looking through the rear doors of the fort’s visitor center.
Brothers Nathan and Logan Teems — 4 and 2, respectively, of Toledo — were at the fort with their mother, Sarah Teems.
While the boys — one armed with a toy gun, the other with a foam sword — battled, Ms. Teems asked, “What do soldiers say?”
“Charge!” the boys said.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.