MOHAWK – It’s not every day one can hear the boom of cannon fire and staccato of musket shots. But now is one of those times.
This weekend marks the annual Living History Weekend at German Flatts Town Park – A chance for people to get a
glimpse of what life and battle was like during the Revolutionary War.
Friday and Saturday saw battles, pumpkin painting, vendors, a quilt show and demonstrations. There remains one more chance to get in on the fun Sunday, with a battle, at 1 p.m. German Flatts Town Park is located at 555 Route 5S, outside Mohawk.
“It’s something we can all do together, as a family,” said Dan O’Brien, of Chenango Bridge, who is a member of Cunningham’s Virginia Battery. He, his wife and daughter all participate in battle re-enactments. “I used to race mountain bikes, and then for about 10 years I did pistol shooting, and so I was away every weekend. Finally Audrey and I said, ‘we need to find something we can all do together.’”
They saw an advertisement about a Civil War re-enactment and decided to check it out. The family enjoyed it so much they built their own cannons, including the 12-pound Mountain Howitzer in use this weekend, that they use in battles from here to Pennsylvania to Virginia.
The O’Brien family takes part in one or two events a month, including accuracy competitions during which they shoot live rounds.
As for other aspects involved in historical re-enactments, such as dressing in full uniform on 85-degree days, O’Brien says it’s not so bad.
“We wear wool, of course, and what I find, is once you sweat in it, the wool wicks it away and it’s really not too bad,” he said with a laugh.
Along side the battle encampments and battles, the Piece Makers Quilt Guild, of Ilion, is holding a quilt show inside Fort Herkimer Church.
Quilting played a major role in the lives of colonial women during the Revolutionary era.
“It used to be a social event,” said the show’s co-chair Kathy Stalec. “The women would get together and do it as a group activity. They would talk and share recipes, the children would play underneath the quilt. Of course by the time they were 5 or 6, the girls would be threading needles and helping with the sewing.”
“That’s the guild likes to stress,” Stalec continued. “It’s about getting together with other quilters, sharing and meeting new people. We also want to inspire people in a craft that many think is long gone.”