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French and Indian War Encampment returns

Move to Clark Park combines event with Colonial Family Day

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

THE 2011 ENCAMPMENT drew reenactors not only from the Wolfeboro area but from Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont as well. This year’s French and Indian War Encampment will be held July 13-15 at the Wolfeboro Historical Society’s Clark Museum complex on South Main Street across from Huggins Hospital. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
July 04, 2012
WOLFEBORO — The French and Indian War Encampment returns to Wolfeboro for a third year on July 13, 14 and 15, but at a new location – and held in conjunction with the first Colonial Family Day.

For the first two years the living history reenactors pitched their tents on Brewster Field at the junction of South Main and Center Streets. This year the encampment will take place at the Clark House Museum complex across South Main Street from Huggins Hospital. The tents will be visible from South Main Street.

For those who have not experienced an encampment, be prepared for a living history experience of the period from 1754 to 1763. Reenactors do not simply don the garb and shoulder the weapons of the period, they portray specific individuals who were members of the French, British and Colonial armies. An encampment is an opportunity to live the life of the 18th century.

Visitors are welcome to enter the encampment to observe and ask questions. In the past two encampments visitors were surprised at how well-informed the reenactors are and pleased at how much can be learned in a short time about this critical period of history before the American Revolution. For their part the reenactors have been pleased with the scale of the Wolfeboro encampment precisely because it allows them to interact with visitors.

Reenactors will arrive for the encampment beginning Thursday, July 12, and the encampment is expected to be in full force by mid-day Friday. The encampment will be open to visitors all day Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14, and until noon on Sunday, July 15.

How it started

The first encampment in August 2010 was jointly sponsored by the Wolfeboro 250th Committee and the Wolfeboro Historical Society. Wolfeboro was named after General James Wolfe who defeated the French General Marquis de Montcalm at the Battle of Quebec in 1759 – a major turning point in the French and Indian War. Inviting French and Indian War reenactors to camp out in the middle of Wolfeboro that August was a major event in the year-long celebration of the naming of Wolfeboro.

Last year the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department became a co-sponsor with the Wolfeboro Historical Society to integrate the event into the many summer events planned for Wolfeboro. The event was also moved to July to avoid schedule conflicts with other encampments of the same period and to make it possible for more people to visit during the season's prime time.

Tuftonboro's Ted Wright, a reeanactor himself who portrays a French officer, is the principal organizer of the reenactors, helped in prior years by New Durham's Dwight Jones. The event draws participants not just from the Wolfeboro area but from Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont as well.

More than the encampment

One reason for the move to the Clark Museum complex was to combine the encampment with the Wolfeboro Historical Society's first Colonial Family Day, which will be held on Saturday, July 14, at the same location as the encampment, in the Wolfeboro Historical Society's Clark Museum complex across from Huggins Hospital as well as in the adjoining ClarkPark.

Opening at 10 a.m., Colonial Family Day is an event for the whole family. There will be tours of the Clark House, the schoolhouse and the firehouse on site that will feature presenters in period dress and demonstrations of cooking, school lessons and firefighting. There will also be colonial games for children, wagon rides, craft demonstrations, a flea market, a farmers' market and a quilt raffle. A refreshment stand will be open for meals and snacks. Colonial musicians will entertain with period music and there will be story telling.

Colonial games will include apple bobbing, sack races, ring toss, horse shoes, hoop and stick and whirligig making.

Craft demonstrations will include spinning, candle making, horse shoeing, blacksmithing, fence making, pottery making, clock making, doll making, and needle work. An artist will be doing sketches.

The farmers' market will include farm-raised produce, baked goods and more.

Tickets to Colonial Family Day may be purchased in advance for $5 per family at Avery Insurance, Black's Paper and Gift Store, Town Hall or at the Wolfeboro Historical Society's fire house. At the door tickets are $7 per family. Tickets for seniors are $2.50.

The organizers hope that in the long term the encampment and now Colonial Family Day will be the nucleus around which a Wolfeboro Old Home Week could be reestablished.

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