By Sue Moore
The Redcoats are coming to Sunset Lake! Several infantry divisions, armed with rifles and horse-drawn cannon, will march through the streets of Vicksburg on Saturday, June 24.
Fortunately, they will be met by the Colonials, including the regiments from 2nd Virginia, the 4th Massachusetts, Kellar’s Company of the Illinois Regiment of Virginia, Hamilton’s Artillery and the River Valley Fife and Drum Corps. Parading between the two camps will be the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Sons of the American Revolution and the Children of the American Revolution and the Kalamazoo Pipe Band will all be part of a parade that steps off at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 24 from the Depot Museum at 300 N. Richardson Street.
The groups will march to East Prairie Street, thence north on Main Street to arrive back at the Historic Village. There will be a full day of activities open to the public, centered around the armies of Great Britain, the patriots from New England and their camp followers. This is a unique opportunity to present the camp life and military maneuvers of the American Revolution. It will include competitions, artillery demonstrations, an 18th-century fashion show, battle drills and demonstrations and even horses over June 24 and 25 at the Historic Village.
They will be camping on the grounds of the Prudential Nursery from Friday evening, June 23, when they will open the activities at dusk with a Fue de joie. It’s a tantalizing display of all the guns being fired at one time while silhouetted by the night sky. A pancake breakfast is planned by the Vicksburg Rotary Club for both days from 7:30-10:30 at the pavilion.
Vendors will be selling period wares of the colonial era for visitors and re-enactors alike. There will be several food trucks on the grounds of the Historic Village and downtown restaurants will be happy to feed the folks who plan to make a day of visiting with the re-enactors. It’s a chance to learn all anyone can about this page of U.S. history.
The re-enactors stay in their roles of a person who fought on one side or the other or was one of the camp followers who aided the sick, washed the clothes and fed the armies. There will be children’s games, planned for the little ones by the Children of the American Revolution.
Over 150 members of the North West Territory Alliance were in Vicksburg in 2016 for the first-ever Battle of Sunset Lake, sponsored by the Historical Society. In 2017, more than 200 are expected, especially if the weather cooperates. Last year the temperature hovered around 95 degrees and was humid for both days of the re-enactment. The campers stayed in character the whole time, wearing wool coats, breeches, leggings and hats from the 18th century.
Sunday events also take place in the Historic Village, opening to the public with colors observed at 9 a.m. Most of the activity will be a repeat of the Saturday demonstrations, with the exception of the parade downtown. Parking for both days will be around the community pavilion on Spruce Street.