Rifle shots, cannon explosions and the sounds of battle will roll through the woods of rural Howard County this weekend as more than 1,000 re-enactors descend on the area to stage a mock 18th century battle.
The scenes of war will take place during the annual three-day historical re-enactment held at Koh-Koh-Mah & Foster Living History Encampment.
For more than a decade, hundreds of history buffs from across the country have come to the camp every September to re-create battles fought during the French and Indian War.
But the event is about more than just mock warfare. Event organizer Bob Auth said it’s about re-creating the sights, sounds and lifestyle of people living more than 200 years ago.
“Life wasn’t easy then,” he said. “Everybody had to work for everything they had. It was survival.”
Throughout the weekend, re-enactors will show just how much work it took to stay alive in a wild and untamed America. Demonstrators will show how settlers made their own candles and other items used in daily life.
Clothes, pottery, games, shoes and other goods from the 1700s will also be on sale.
“Anything you can imagine from that time will be for sale,” Auth said. “It’s like a shopping mall from the 1700s.”
The event also highlights the culture of 18th century America. Groups like the 42nd Royal Highlanders Bagpipe, Fife and Drum Corp will play music of the time period, and fiddlers will roam around the grounds playing historic tunes.
“It’s all pretty upbeat music,” Auth said. “People will really enjoy it.”
He said anyone who comes to the event will truly experience what life was like then, thanks to tight rules that require re-enactors and demonstrators to authentically represent the period.
He said participants have to send a jury committee photos of their garb, tents and other items to make sure it accurately represents the 18th century. If it isn’t authentic, they can’t come.
“The demonstrators do their research down to the buttons on their shoes and coats to the color of their hats,” Auth said. “Every stitch of clothing they wear, we make sure it’s correct.”
It all adds up to a true and accurate re-creation of how Americans lived during the time of the French and Indian War, and Auth said people who come will get a glimpse into a bygone time — before anything resembling modern life existed.
“If you’re looking for a history lesson, this is the place to do it, and have fun at the same time,” he said.
The event is open Friday only to school groups. Auth said around 2,000 students will show up for the special school day. The grounds are open to the public Saturday and Sunday. Entrance fees are $6 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens and free for kids under 5 years old.
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go: What: Koh-Koh-Mah & Foster Living History Encampment Where: 9912 W. 100 S., Russiaville, 46979 When: Saturday and Sunday. Friday, open only to schools. Cost: $6 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, free for kids 5 and under. More info: www.kohkohmah.com Saturday 9 a.m.: Gates Open 9:30 a.m.: Opening Ceremony (Parade Field) 10: Meet Chief KohKohMah & David Foster (Log Cabin Porch) 10: Music - Traveler's Dream (Amphitheatre) 11: French and Indian Battle (Amphitheatre) Noon: Blacksmith Story (Blacksmith Shop) 12:30 p.m.: 42nd Royal Highlander Band march and play end at (Parade Field) 12:30: Theatiki Fife & Drum Corps march and play end at (Parade Field) 1: Tomahawk-Throwing (Public Welcome) (Amphitheatre) 2: Meet Chief KohKohMah & David Foster (Log Cabin Porch) 2: Horse Demonstration (Parade Field) 2: 42nd Royal Highlander Band (Amphitheatre) 2:30: Theatiki Fife & Drum Corps (Amphitheatre) 3: French and Indian Battle (Amphitheatre) 4: Music - Traveler's Dream (Amphitheatre) Children's Parade (Start at Log Cabin) (End at Parade Field) Candy Cannon - after Children's Parade (Parade Field) 4:30: Artillery Demonstration (Parade Field) 5: Closing Ceremony (Parade Field) Sunday 9 a.m.: Gates Open Time Period Church Service (Amphitheatre) 10: Meet Chief KohKohMah & David Foster (Log cabin Porch) 10: Music - Traveler's Dream (Amphitheatre) 10:30: Opening Ceremony (Parade Field) 11: Tomahawk Throwing (Public Welcome) (Amphitheatre) 11: 42nd Highlanders Band march and play throughout the grounds 11: Theatiki Fife & Drum Corps march and play throughout the grounds 11: Candy Cannon - for children (Parade Field) 11: Music - Rusty Musket Band (Amphitheatre) Noon: Music - Traveler's Dream (Amphitheatre) 1 p.m.: French and Indian Battle (Amphitheatre) 2: Meet Chief KohKohMah & David Foster (Log Cabin Porch) 2: Horse Demonstration (Parade Field) 2: Theatiki Fife & Drum Corps (Amphitheatre) 2:30: 42nd Royal Highlander Band (Amphitheatre) 3: Music - Rusty Musket Band (Parade Field) 3:50: Closing Ceremony (Parade Field)