Sunday, August 25, 2019

Old Fort Niagara Bringing War of 1812 to Life

Old Fort Niagara is hosting its final re-enactment of the season, the “War of 1812 Encampment,” on August 31 and September 1, at the National Historic Landmark in Niagara County. This encampment portrays the British attack on Fort Niagara during the American occupation in December 1813 and includes a special evening battle and daily activities for all.

“Picture being as close to Canada as we are today while engaging in cannon fire across the Niagara River. That’s what it was like at Fort Niagara in 1813 during the War of 1812,” said Robert Emerson, Executive Director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “The upcoming encampment shows and tells the story of surrender of the fort to the British, which was the last time Fort Niagara was engaged in military conflict on our turf.”

During the day on Saturday and Sunday, re-enactors will present demonstrations and visitors can be part of living history for the weekend. Additional activities include daily battle re-enactments, children’s games, recruiting programs, displays of equipment, military music, artillery firings, and soldiers’ daily life tasks. 

“War of 1812 Encampment” is sponsored by Northwest Bank. The daily schedule follows:

9:00 a.m.    Fort opens to the public
10:00 a.m.    Flag Raising
10:15 a.m.    Manual Exercise - Troops Marching, Maneuvering
11:00 a.m.    Uniforms of the War of 1812
12:00 p.m.    Artillery Demonstration
1:00 p.m.    Concert of Military Music
1:30 p.m.    Regency English Country Dancing (Sunday) – or 5:30 p.m. (Saturday)
2:30 p.m.    Battle Re-enactment
3:30 p.m.    Kids Program: Recruiting (Saturday); Games (Sunday)
4:15 p.m.    Artillery Demonstration (Saturday); Musket Demo (Sunday)
5:00 p.m.    Fort Closes to the Public (Sunday)

Extended Schedule for Saturday Evening Battle (*please note special instructions below)
5:00 p.m.    Musket Demonstration 
5:30 p.m.    Regency English Country Dancing
6:00 p.m.    Guided Tour: Fort Niagara in the War of 1812
7:15 p.m.    Music Concert by the Mackenzie Highlanders’ Pipes and Drums
8:00 p.m.    Reenactment of the British Capture of Fort Niagara, December 19, 1813

*Special instructions for Saturday’s evening battle: 
  • Visitors’ last chance to purchase admission or enter the property Saturday evening is 7:00 p.m. No one will be admitted after 7:00 p.m.
  • Holders of receipts from earlier Saturday admission may use them to reenter the fort for the evening battle.
  • All visitors must exit the fort immediately following the conclusion of Saturday’s evening battle.

The The Officers’ Club, just outside the fort's footprint, will be open during the encampment from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. for tours and access to the World War II display. The lighthouse will also be open from noon to 3 p.m.

At the log cabin, food, snacks, drinks and ice cream will be for sale from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The cost to attend the event is $14 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under, and free to members of the Old Fort Niagara Association. Event information is also available at:

Old Fort Niagara ( is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in August and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting in September. 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.

Photos courtesy Wayne Peters