A glimpse inside the lives of 18th century American settlers at Fort Massac State Park October 16 and 17
Held the third weekend in October, the Fort Massac Encampment will once again recreate history for the community of Metropolis and surrounding towns.
Last year, Covid-19 was responsible for the cancellation of the highly-anticipated campout. This year's event will continue with the tradition of the posting of colours, war reenactments, arts and crafts, and authentic food.
If there are Outlander fans reading this article, familiarity with the time period and all that comes with it such as war, illness, and hardship is without a doubt. The series streamed on STARZ, takes place in the 18th century at a time when skinning a knee could be a matter of life or death. For those wounded on the battlefield, a reasonable outcome was an assured death. There were herbs for healing and liquor to numb the pain, however, penicillin wasn't discovered for another century.
Today, the world is still battling the coronavirus, though more is known about the infectious disease. During the 18th century, measles was the incurable disease. First reported in America sometime in the 16th century, a vaccine wasn't available until 1963. It wasn't until the vaccine, that cases began to decline. Thinking about the timeline for the Covid-19 vaccine, it's pretty amazing how quickly an effective vaccine was available to the world.
Since this is a reenactment and not the 'real thing,' it's the food, costumes, arts and crafts that will rule the day. If you don't want to miss any of the festivities, the posting of the colours ceremony is the first event and is observed both Saturday and Sunday. In the afternoon, visitors will experience mock military battles and tactics by battle reenactors.
When strolling through the encampment, you'll see candlemakers, jewelry designers, blacksmiths, explorers, settlers, and soldiers all clothed in 17th and 18th-century dress.
Many of the re-enactors have researched the clothing, lodging, tools, and crafts, during this time period and will be available to give those interested a look at life in the past.
After watching the posting of colours individuals may walk through the crafter's area, where crafters demonstrate everything from blacksmithing, buck-skinning, basket weaving, and candle dipping. Many crafters also have their products for sale so save some time to browse the large selection of items. There will be music and various performers entertaining attendees with skits throughout the park.
The food provided by vendors dressed in authentic clothing and cooked on open fires is one of the most exciting and delicious centerpieces of the entire event. Upon arriving at the grounds of Fort Massac, the campfire smoke will be one of the first attention-getters. As you get closer to the vendors, the wonderful aroma of food takes over the senses.
Some of the more popular favorites are caramelized popcorn, root beer, rock candy, turkey legs, apple crisps, pork rinds, just to name a few. Other food vending items include cabbage and cornbread, ham and beans, chicken and dumplings, elk burgers, beef stew, and chili, and many more.
For nearly 50 years, the festival has given visitors a glance at what life was like for the early settlers of the Americas. For a bit of history, Fort Massac was built by the French in 1757, during the French and Indian War, and was originally called "Fort de L'Ascension." The name was changed in 1759, to honor Claud Louis d'Espinchal,
So whether your desire is to learn more about the history of Fort Massac or sample some delicious food, visitors will want to plan to attend the Encampment at Fort Massac State Park. The event goes from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, October 16, and 9 am to 4:30 pm on Sunday, October 17. Visitors are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing.