Sunday, February 10, 2019

Old Fort Niagara Present Winter Woods Battle Feb. 16th

Old Fort Niagara encourages the public to embrace winter and enjoy a day of living history on Saturday, February 16, for its annual “Winter Woods Battle” featuring indoor and outdoor activities. The day’s demonstrations start at 10 a.m. and include fur trading, shelter building, fire starting, weaponry, cooking, winter games, artisans and snowshoeing (or hiking) to a battle in the woods with complimentary hot chocolate with the reenactors.

 “The ‘Winter Woods Battle’ is the antidote to cabin fever right about now,” said Robert Emerson, Executive Director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “This event is great for kids and families and gets visitors outdoors to explore the history of the Niagara Frontier while gaining an understanding of a soldier’s life in the wintertime.”

Reenactors from regional units – Brant’s Volunteers, Hoisington Rangers, New York Provincials and Shroth’s New York Company – join the fort’s staff and volunteers in presenting a full slate of programming for all, whether indoor or outdoor enthusiasts.

“Mingling with reenactors and enjoying hot chocolate over an open fire is a favorite among our visitors,” added Mr. Emerson. “Plus, kids and adults alike enjoy making fire with flint and steel, snowshoeing to a battle in the woods, building shelters out of branches, or keeping warm by fires in the French Castle while learning about tinsmithing and the Great Lakes fur trade.”

In addition to the activities, a hearty 18th-century meal and warm drinks will be for sale onsite at the log cabin.

Schedule of Activities

10:00 a.m. – Noon    Write with a quill pen in the Sir William Johnson Room
10:00 a.m. – Noon    Play a game of snow snakes and other winter sports
10:00 a.m. – Noon    Winter survival in the fort and on the trail: Experience how people stayed warm in the days before central heating and down parkas
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.    Food on the frontier: Watch a colonial cooking demonstration and learn what foods were eaten during the winter months
10:15 a.m.    Musket firing demonstration
11:00 a.m.    Fur trading demonstration: Learn how Native Americans bartered furs for European-made goods. Handle various furs, hides and trade goods.
11:00 a.m. – 1:15p.m.    18th century meal for sale in the log cabin
11:15 a.m.    Musket firing demonstration
Noon        Start a fire with flint and steel
12:15 p.m.    Musket firing demonstration
12:30 p.m.     Shelter Building: Try your hand at building a wilderness shelter like they did in the 18th century
1:00 p.m.    Tinsmithing: make and take a tin ornament
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.    Write with a quill pen in the Sir William Johnson Room
1:15 p.m.    Musket firing demonstration
1:30 p.m.    Snowshoes and their history: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
2:00 p.m.    Snowshoe Patrol/Winter Hike: Join the fort’s garrison as they patrol east to the woods along Lake Ontario where a skirmish ensues. Afterwards, enjoy complimentary hot chocolate in the woods camp. This is an approximately 1.5 mile hike over rough ground.
2:00 p.m.     Fur trading demonstration at the Fort
2:15 p.m.     Musket firing demonstration
3:15 p.m.     Musket firing demonstration
4:00 p.m.     Musket firing demonstration

If there is enough snow, please note that snowshoes are provided first-come, first-served, and visitors are welcome to bring their own.

Everything is included with regular admission to the fort, which is $13 for adults, $9 for children ages 6-12, and free for children ages 5 and under, and free for Old Fort Niagara Association members.

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. The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gates close 30 minutes after the last ticket sale.

Photos courtesy Wayne Peters