Sunday, October 28, 2018

Old Fort Niagara to Host French Heritage Day

On Saturday, November 3, Old Fort Niagara will open the heavy wooden doors to the French Castle and present living-history programs about the influence and impact of the French on Niagara’s early history, from 1726 through 1759.

The day’s programs are part of French Heritage Day, when visitors can enjoy a series of interactive and educational activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

French Field Music
photo courtesy Charlotte Clark
French Heritage Day is taking you back nearly 300 years and welcoming you with open doors to the fort’s French Castle,” said Robert Emerson, Executive Director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “The sights, sounds and smells will be very much as they were in the 18th century. Visitors can meet fur traders, watch a meal being prepared over an open fire in the boulangerie, meet soldiers, play games and more. They’re all good reasons to wander out of your house and into our castle on November 3.”

At the heart of French Heritage Day is the 1726 French Castle, built by the French, which is the oldest original building on the Great Lakes. It was surrounded by a wooden stockade and housed about 40 soldiers. The new fort protected French interests in the region and provided a venue where Frenchmen and Native Americans could meet to negotiate and trade.

On French Day, staff and volunteers will portray those French soldiers, Native traders, voyageurs and civilians and the public will learn about:

  • Food and cooking techniques from the 1700s
  • Hands-on introduction to the 18th century fur trade
  • French military music
  • 18-century French medicine
  • French soldier life
  • Musket firing demonstrations
  • Cannon firing demonstrations
  • 18th century French games
  • 18th century surveying

Everything is included with regular admission to the fort, which is $12 for adults, $8 for children, and free for children ages 5 and under and for Old Fort Niagara Association members.

Try your hands at open hearth cooking
photo courtesy Wayne Peters
Active Military, Veterans and Their Families Admitted Free on Veterans Day
On Sunday, November 11, Old Fort Niagara will welcome active military personnel, veterans and their families with free admission in appreciation for their service to our country. These visitors need only to present their military ID at the admissions desk. The fort will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (admissions end at 4:30 p.m.).

Castle by Candlelight, December 8 and 15
The fort’s final event of the year will be “Castle by Candlelight” on the evenings of December 8 and 15. Tickets will be $15 per person and sold at the door.

Old Fort Niagara ( is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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, Twitter and YouTube.