Old Fort Niagara invites the public to imagine life as a soldier on the Niagara Frontier in the 1700s by attending its annual Snowshoe Patrol on Saturday, February 4, 2017. The fort’s staff, volunteers and reenactors will offer programs and hands-on activities about winter survival, the Great Lakes fur trade, historic games and trades. Visitors will also learn about the history of the snowshoe and march into the woods to witness a skirmish between reenactors.
The day’s activities are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be suitable for all ages. Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather as most events will happen outdoors. Demonstrations will happen at the following times:
11 a.m. and Noon Artillery Firing Demonstration by Schuyler’s Company
An artillery reenactment unit will fire a cannon.
11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Powder Horn Engraving Demonstration
Learn about the usefulness of horns and antlers in creating tools for soldiers and civilians.
12:30 p.m. Staying Warm in a Cold World
How did people survive a Niagara winter before electricity and central heat? This program will examine winter clothing, bedding and heating.
1:15 p.m. Great Lakes Trade
Demonstrations and hands-on activities about the workings of the 18th century fur trade on the Great Lakes. Learn about the Great Lakes’ earliest business enterprise, the lives of Native Americans and hivernants (winter traders), and examine popular trade goods and furs.
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. History of the Snowshoe and Woods Patrol
Join educators from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to learn about the history of the snowshoe. After a brief program, visitors will be invited to wear a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes (weather permitting) to accompany a patrol into the woods east of the fort. In the woods, watch a skirmish between reenactors, then enjoy complimentary hot chocolate prepared over an open fire while mingling with reenactors. Snowshoes are provided first-come, first-served, or bring your own.
Ongoing Activities from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Soldier life – clothing, personal kit, weapons, equipment
Storing, preparing, and cooking food
18th century games
Hands-on demonstrations of quill pens
All activities and programs are included with regular admission to the fort: ($12/adult, $8/child ages 6-12, free/children 5 and under) and free to members of Old Fort Niagara.
Old Fort Niagara would like to thank the many volunteers who participate in this event and share their knowledge with the public, including Brant’s Volunteers, Hoisington Rangers, New York Provincials, Schuyler’s Company and Shroth’s New York Company reenacting units.
Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is located in Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, N.Y., which is 14 miles north of Niagara Falls via the northbound Niagara Scenic Parkway. The fort is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admissions end 30 minutes before closing. Old Fort Niagara is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association (a not-for-profit organization) in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.