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Colonial encampment in Wolfeboro this weekend

Re-enactor demonstrations, musket firings and farmers' market planned

August 19, 2010
WOLFEBORO — This weekend Brewster Memorial Field will be taken back 250 years and transformed into an encampment of colonial soldiers and tradesmen.

The three-day encampment is part of the celebration of the naming of Wolfeboro 250 years ago for General James Wolfe, victor of the Battle of Quebec City, the turning point in the French and Indian War, and it is sponsored by the town's Wolfeboro 250th Committtee. The committee hopes it will become a recurring event to anchor a Colonial Old Home Week for Wolfeboro for years to come.

The encampment will begin this Friday morning, Aug. 20, at 9 a.m. with the arrival of colonial re-enactors from all over New England to set up tents and build campfires on Brewster Field. The organization of the field will be under the direction of veteran local re-enactors Dwight Jones of New Durham and Ted Wright of Tuftonboro, who have both participated in a number of re-enactments all over the Northeast, including the annual French and Indian War encampment at Fort Ticonderoga in New York state.

Setup should be complete by noon on Friday and visitors will be welcome to come to the field to visit the encampment and ask questions of the re-enactors. Parking will be available on the Brewster campus and nearby sites.

On Friday, Diane Louise Paul will give demonstrations of colonial leatherworking from noon to 5 p.m. and a trading post of colonial goods organized by Paul Garatoni will open for business. Cassandra Newcomer will set up an easel and do colonial charcoal portraits of interested visitors: she will be available all three days of the encampment. Re-enactors will organize musket firing demonstrations and be available to answer visitor questions about life in the 18th century in general and the field life of soldiers in particular.

From 6 to 8 p.m. there will be a Governor's Reception at Brewster's Pinckney Boathouse to welcome the re-enactors. Governor John Wentworth, portrayed by Wolfeboro Historical Society President Jim Rogers, will be present along with General James Wolfe, portrayed by Wolfeboro resident Christian Boudman, and current State Senator Jeb Bradley. Proclamations from Governor Benning Wentworth celebrating the victory at Quebec City and from current Governor John Lynch celebrating Wolfeboro's anniversary will be read,

Wolfeboro musicians Beverly Woods and Seth Austen will perform 18th century music. The reception will feature a wide selection of tasty hors d'oeuvres prepared by the Brewster catering staff. Tickets for non-re-enactors are $10 and may be purchased at the door. The encampment will then bed down for the night, keeping the campfire burning.

On Saturday, re-enactors will be joined by Blacksmith Jack Page, who will give demonstrations of 18th-century techniques for rendering metal and fabricating needed tools and fastenings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Page will also have custom fabrications for sale.

Members of the Wolfeboro Area Farmers' Market, organized by Tuftonboro re-enactor Susan Weeks, will also set up a market of fresh produce in the main tent from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. As of this writing it is expected that Bly Farm will offer vegetables, preserves and pies; Stella Loona will have yeast breads, cinnamon rolls and other fresh tasty baked goods; Crooked Pine Farm will also offer baked goods and fresh lemonade; Top of the Hill Farm will have fresh fruits and vegetables; and Weeks will have handmade 18th century crafts, including candleholders and pottery. All participants will be dressed appropriately in 18th-century costumes.

For children, Lauren Hammond, Director of the Libby Museum, is organizing activities from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m., including candle making and colonial children's games. Since trapping was a major activity in the 18th century, Hammond will have on display the pelts of various animals native to the area.

Beginning at 11 a.m. the Wells Fargo Stage will be available for inspection, photographs and rides until 2 p.m., courtesy of Wells Fargo Advisors Wolfeboro manager Loren Ackerman. Please see separate story on this page.

Re-enactors will give musket firing demonstrations and give education presentations on colonial and military life. There will be cannon firings after the stagecoach has left and between 3 and 4 p.m. there will be a mock battle on Wolfeboro Bay between re-enactors in bateaux long, light, flatbottom boats with a sharply pointed bows and sterns.

Sunday morning will offer further opportunities to visit with the re-enactors, learn about 18th century life and experience musket and cannon firings until noon, when the encampment ends.

Committee member Linda Murray says the committee is especially grateful to Brewster Academy, which made the field and the Pinckney Boathouse available. "They have been very supportive from the very first," she said. Wolfeboro Historical Society members and Wolfeboro Rotarians have also pitched in to help.

Looking to the future

The Wolfeboro 250th Committee found it was difficult to organize a first encampment because re-enactor groups plan where they will be at least a year in advance. "We knew we were not likely to get a huge turnout for a first event," Wright said, "but there was a lot of interest in planning to come if we do this again." One big reason is that for re-enactors, any event is usually part of one's vacation, and Wright noted the idea of coming to the Oldest Summer Resort in America for an encampment is very attractive in itself.

Though the Wolfeboro 250th Committee is expected to complete its work by Nov. 14, when the year-long celebration ends, many members are interested is developing future encampments as an anchor for an Old Home Week for Wolfeboro Colonial Old Home Days is the working title.

"As soon as the encampment is over," Jones said, "we want to start planning one for next year. Once we set the date, we can get the word out." He expects that a 2011 encampment will be bigger and even batter.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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