• Category Archives Civil War
  • Over 10,000 expected for Kalamazoo’s 40th year of Living History

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    This weekend the Kalamazoo Living History Show will celebrate its fortieth year.  As in recent years, the owner, Leslie Martin Conwell, is anticipating over 10,000 in attendance.  Over 270 artists, craftsmen, exhibitors, and vendors of ware will set up at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center on the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The show is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on  Saturday March 21 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2015.  Admission is $7 for one day or $10 for both days and free for children 12 and under when with a parent.

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    Whether you are a Living History participant, antique collector, steampunk, or just like fun, historical collectibles, the Kalamazoo Living History Show, the largest, indoor living history event east of the Mississippi, is an event that is well worth the trip with hundreds of booths to shop for crafts, art, clothes, jewelry, books and other pre-1890 living history supplies.

    There will be hundreds of folks dressed for the period from Native Americans and frontiersmen and women to military men from the Civil War and earlier.

    This year the show’s them is “Rangers Lead the Way – The American Ranger Tradition” and the featured speaker will be Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis, Ph.D. Retired.  Lieutenant Colonel Davis will speak on the rich history of the American Ranger from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War and beyond.  Tim and Terry Todish will be presenting on “wilderness Warriors of the French and Indian War.”

    Additionally the Bush Native American Drum and Dance and the SouthEastern WaterSpider Drum groups will be performing traditional Native American music and dance.  So you don’t need a modified DeLorean to drop back in time a century or two this weekend and check out the beautiful costumes, crafts, and cultural exhibits at the Kalamazoo Living History show!

    For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.



  • Civil unrest over takes a quiet village at Charlton Park, Michigan

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    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    Today, July 19, 2014, the Civil War returned to Charlton Park in Hastings, Michigan.  The annual Civil War muster is set in beautiful Charlton park where 18th century buildings have been moved and it provides a beautiful, historically accurate village for the Civil War reenactors to stage battles and demonstrations of Civil War tactics, strategies, and medicine.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    Today the scenario involved a quiet, southern village whose peace was interupted by an invasion of Yankees.  Canons roared and rifles flared causing the peaceful villagers to flee in terror as the troops came marching in from the east and the cavalry rode in from the west to face them off in the initial confrotation.  More troops marched in from both sides and the town square became a battle ground.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    Many soldiers fell today from the vicious fighting but at the end both sides rose again to fight tomorrow as another day in a Civil War Valhalla.  After the northern soldiers marched and rode past the cheering crowd the troops from Dixie formed rank and fired a volley and then charged the crowd to give them the feel of the battle.  Fortunately they stopped at the road and didn’t continue to the relief of the spectators.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    After the battle there was a demonstration of field medicine with the Dr. performing an amputation of one of the soldiers legs for the viewing pleasure of the audience.  Dr. J. J. Bandit, aka “The Butcher”, explained the medical theory of the time.  They believed that infection was a part of the healing process.  The thick, white pus was a sign a wound would heal properly.  Alternately, the thin, green issue was a sign that a would would likely result in the the soldiers death.  Fortunately, in this case, the soldier’s leg grew back in time for another demonstration.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    At the moment the Gas & Steam Barn Dance is just starting.  At 9 p.m. there is an evening lantern walk where the tours will be starting from the barn dance and will procede through different stations in the village where those in the tour will witness the comanders discussing tactics for tomorrows battles and will visit the injured and dying in the infirmery.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    The show will return tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the opening of suttlers row for all to shop for antiques, reproductions, and lots of high quality, hand made goods.  If you are in the Southern Michigan area head on over for the Civil War Reenactment in Hastings or stop by the Olde World Village and visit as the BlackRock Medieval Summerfest continues their show and drop by and visit with The Weird Review‘s very own Lillian Fox as she puts in a presence at another, otherwhen.

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  • Canons roar and Pirates perform in celebrations civil and medieval

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    Canons will roar in Hastings!
    Canons will roar in Hastings!

    This weekend in Hastings, Michgan the canons will roar at the annual Hastings Civil War Muster in Charlton Park, while less than thirty miles away the Blackrock Renaissance Summerfest at The Olde World Village in Augusta, Michigan will be celebrating with medieval merriment and mayhem.

    Olde World Village manager Mike Wkii with The Weird Review's Staff Model, Minion, and Sidekick, Lillian Fox
    Olde World Village manager Mike Wkii with The Weird Review’s Staff Model, Minion, and Sidekick, Lillian Fox

    For a fiver on July 19 and 20, 2014, you can go to Charlton park where they have moved in old buildings from the 1800’s  and have recreated a beautiful, historic town complete with chapel, general store, houses, and during the Civil War Muster, Union and Rebel camps.  They present demonstrations, seminars, 18th century fashions, and a pitched battle in the town square where everyone can watch from the safety of the hillside.

    When visiting camps be sure to identify yourself as friend or foe!
    When visiting camps be sure to identify yourself as friend or foe!

    Visitors will also want to visit the Suttler’s camp where those reenactors of a more commercial nature will peddle their wares to the soldiers as well as the visiters from modern America who will love the crafted, cooked, concocted, and curious items as well as replica and authentic antique items for sale.  In the evening they have music and dancing and then, later, the Emerald Pheasant Saloon will be open for refreshments, cards, and general carrying on.

    Music on the courthouse steps
    Music on the courthouse steps

    Just a short distance away you can enjoy another era of music, mirth, and medieval markets as the Blackrock Renaissance Summerfest continues its second week.  At blackrock you can see acrobatics, pirates, and sword fights.  There is even real jousting with knights in armor charging one another on horseback.  The splinters fly as the knights do battle to show their prowess to the royalty, peasants, and honored guests who attend their contests.

    You may even find a familiar face of wizardry at the Blackrock Renaissance Summerfest!
    You may even find a familiar face of wizardry at the Blackrock Renaissance Summerfest!

    Further to the north is another entire village within the village, The Viking Encampment, where the Vikings of the Great Lakes have staked their claim.  you can drop by and see the Norse ladies and gents as they demonstrate the life in a traditional viking village.

    Ladies keeping house in the Norse Village
    Ladies keeping house in the Norse Village

    You will want to stop by Moore’s Rolling Smokehouse where they  specialize in smoked ribs, chicken, pork, brisket, and they have some of the best brats around.  Elsewhere in the Olde World Village you can sink your teeth into a hickory smoked barbeque sandwich or feast on the chili or other soup in an old fashioned bread bowl at the Hickory Hut!

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    All around the Olde World Village you can visit the various wonderful shops such as, The Crafty HatterUnicorn’s GardenSkullduggery Overseas Trading CompanyFellowship Foundry, and Yulanda’s Soy Comfort Candles.  You definitely want to check out the leather works of Gere Hakon and say hi to the Weird Review’s own Model, Minion, and Sidekick, Lillian Fox, who will be modeling items mad by Gere and from Beckalyn’s Masquerade.

    This is certain to be a great weekend to visit Charlton Park or The Olde World Village but better still, visit both!

     

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  • Living history boomed to life at the Jackson Muster

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    Guns and Canons blazed at the Jackson Muster
    Guns and Canons blazed at the Jackson Muster

    This weekend in Jackson, Michigan canons boomed, horses charged, infantry marched and rifles blazed at the Jackson Muster.  Muster literally means a gathering of the troops and it is used by living history participants to refer to gathering for a historical reenactment on the battlefield.  Today they assembled to reenact the battle of Gettysburg.

    Soldiers in hot wool stand in their unit, ready to join in the battle
    Soldiers in hot wool stand in their unit, ready to join in the battle

    The soldiers wore heavy wool pants, shirts, vests, and even full dress uniforms in 90+ temperatures under the hot sun.  Their passion and dedication to reenacting was as evident as the sweat on their faces.

    Whether in formation or scattered across the field the troops looked sharp
    Whether in formation or scattered across the field the troops looked sharp

    Their dedication to historical authenticity is also amazing.  Many of them are so true to the originals that the thread for their garments is hand spun, then woven on a loom by hand and tailor made for they or by them and costing over a thousand dollars for a basic set.

    This Civil War era canon was cast in 1836 and was used in the Spanish American War before it was used in the Civil War and is valued between $50 and $100,000.
    This Civil War era canon was cast in 1836 and was used in the Spanish American War before it was used in the Civil War and is valued between $50 and $100,000.

    The canons shot on the battlefield go beyond authenticity as they are actual canons that were used in Civil War era battles and are valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.

    Major General Jeremy F.Gilmer portrays one of the Civil War Engineer/surveyors who would map the areas prior to troop movements and battles
    Major General Jeremy F.Gilmer portrays one of the Civil War Engineer/surveyors who would map out the areas prior to troop movements and battles

    In addition to the battles there were also educational demonstrations and displays including Civil War era medical science, surveying, a church service, and numerous tents in the sutler’s marketplace.

    The Emerald Peacock Civil War era tavern caters the cause
    The Emerald Peacock Civil War era tavern caters the cause

    Of course, there is also the Emerald Peacock where one may procure libations, enjoy musical entertainment as well as the company of the lovely ladies of the camp.

    While the educational experience is unquestionable, it is no great secret that for those who were in the uniforms on the battlefield and shooting off rifles and canons, it was also fun
    Soldiers strolling past after the battle

    While the educational experience is unquestionable, it is no great secret that for those who were in the uniforms on the battlefield and shooting off rifles and canons, it was also fun!

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