War of 1812 Bicentennial plans gearing up

By Joel Charron

The War of 1812 Bicentennial is 18 months away and according to Amherstburg’s Manager of Tourism and Cultural, Anne Rota, plans for a “once in a lifetime” celebration has been under way for some time now.

“It’s been in the planning stages for four years and I think we are at that point where we can begin to execute some of those plans,” said Rota.

The War of 1812 was one of the most significant events that occurred on Canadian soil during a time when Canada’s destiny would be determined by the military actions of the day.

Amherstburg played a key role in the activities, historic sites, people and actions during the 1812-1815 period. Rota said it is for this reason that they are fully prepared to engage the community in the celebrations of the 2012 Bicentennial celebrations.

“This commemoration is a true community event,” said Rota. “Everyone should get involved.”

Rota said there are many ways that people can get involved with the Bicentennial celebrations, such as business, artistic and volunteer opportunities.

“We are going to need lots of volunteers in different capacities,” she said.

Rota said she feels the community owes it to the organizations and the volunteers that have worked to maintain the historic sites around Amherstburg and the surrounding area, to get involved with such “an important celebration.”

The group “1812 Alive” has been working at the Bicentennial for roughly four years now, with very little resources.  1812 Alive has a plethora of activities planned for the summer of 2012.  A lot of venues within the town will be used to present these events.

Their signature event, ‘The Roots to Boots” Festival on August 3, 4, 5 2012, like many other celebrations in town, will encompass and be presented with all of the community in mind.

Organizers want the celebrations to be fun, interactive and engaging for all residents and visitors.

“If you want to experience anything 1812, then you have to be at the Roots to Boots Festival,” said Rota.

Rota added the goal for the town, on that weekend is to transform the entire town back to 1812.  There will be people on the streets in authentic 1812 costumes and reenactments will take place on various street corners.

“The festival is mainly going to be about artists and heritage history,” said Rota. “Whether you’re a history buff, an artist or just love a festival atmosphere this will be the weekend for you.”

Rota added that everyone will interpret the Bicentennial their own way. However, they are hoping that the residents of this region will appreciate the freedom and peace Canadians enjoy today.

“I think this will bring a sense of appreciation and love of our country,” said Rota.

Residents can keep up to date with the War of 1812 Bicentennial cele brations by visiting the town’s website, Amherstburg.ca and click on the “War of 1812 Bicentennial” link near the top of the page.

“This is truly a once in a lifetime event,” said Rota.

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