New festival launches this weekend



Special to the RTT


A cross-section of local history, heritage and culture will come together this weekend when the new “Rivertown Living History Festival” opens on Saturday morning.

Hosted by the Provincial Marine naval reenactment unit, the festival will welcome a gathering of groups from across Essex County, who will be set up on the Dalhousie St. side of the Commissariat building at the northern end of King’s Navy Yard Park.

There will be entertainment throughout the day, and the Provincial Marine will establish a historic encampment on the river side of the building.

The event opens on Saturday and Sunday morning at 10 a.m. sharp with the firing of the “Gun Battery.” The Provincial Marine will have all three of its naval cannon on the line by the Battle of Lake Erie monument.

The “Noon Gun,” which is fast becoming an Amherstburg tradition will also be fired, with that ceremony starting each day at 11:45 a.m. Musketry demonstrations, primitive skills and camp life will be on display all day.

Entertainment will feature Alex Dale from Fort Malden playing historical music, Matthew Bombardier of the Metis Youth Council will present a traditional Anishinaabe Grass Dance, and the Provincial Marine’s own Seamus Gunn will be sharing stories of local heroes. At 1:30 p.m. each day, respected local history interpreter Mr. Norman Drouillard will present the uniforms and equipment of “The Great War” of 1914-18.

Participating organizations include the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, known as HEIRS, the Boblo Island Blockhouse, which opens again soon for public tours, and the Bicentennial Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association, who will have an wellspring of information on early British settlers to the area.

Perhaps you might discover a lost ancestor!

The Friends of Fort Malden and the Windsor-Essex Metis Youth Council will also be on hand, and the Essex Heritage Committee along with the Essex & Community Historical Research Society will present a fascinating display on the Loyalist cemeteries in the region.

While you’re in the Navy Yard, be sure to visit our neighbours at the Park House Museum, who have arranged to be open from noon to 3 p.m. each day, for a special fee of just $2 per person, and just a few minutes walk will take you to the

Amherstburg Freedom Museum, at 277 King Street, which will be open Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

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