American history comes alive in the Grand Rogue Encampment
By Sarah Harmon
EW Emma’s Writings
Anyone who says time travel is impossible has clearly never been to a living history event. This weekend was the 28th annual Grand Rogue Encampment in Belmont, MI where you could see American history come to life from 1755 through modern times. The focus was primarily military, although there were plenty of civilian re-enactors as well.
Each morning began with the unmistakable drone of bagpipes, followed by the deafening explosion of a British six pounder cannon fired by gentlemen dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers. After the smoke cleared and you regained your hearing, you could chat with one of Roger’s Rangers, a group that worked as scouts through the wilderness during the French and Indian War. They’re happy to explain exactly how our own George Washington’s mistake caused that war to ignite on this side of the Atlantic.
In between watching demonstrations of how rifles were loaded and fired during the Civil War, a stop at the French Voyageur’s tent was a must. While there, you could try on a real beaver fur top hat that cost a man six months’ wages in the 1800s. Next to the hat, you could find actual pipes used by Michigan fur traders 200 years ago. Similar artifacts were in a recent exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, although here, you are allowed to touch them instead of seeing them through glass.
If you’re a parent or a teacher, you’ve probably heard kids whining that history is boring and they don’t see why they need to learn about things that happened so long ago. Admittedly, in a text book, World War II is hardly exciting. However, a teen boy is certainly not going to tell you he doesn’t want to learn about the Allied forces when he’s able to sit in the driver’s seat of a WWII armored transport vehicle. For those who are less enthralled by watching old styles of rifles shot, they could watch the blacksmith heating coals with an enormous set of bellows and forming metal into functional works of art. The kids were also welcome to try their hands at a traditional Native American game or to help power the hand cranked wood lathe. Little girls loved watching brightly dyed wool spun into yarn on an old-fashioned spinning wheel and dancing to live Colonial era music.
No matter your age, if you were at the Grand Rogue Encampment last weekend, you learned a lot and had fun doing it. If you missed it this year, it is an annual event, so make sure to mark your calendars for next September!
Copyright (c) 2014 Emma Blogs LLC