Sunday, September 30, 2007

Field Trip: Fort Loudoun

September 8, 2007

Ft. Loudoun State HIstoric Area is at the site one of the earliest British fortifications on the western frontier, built in 1756 during the French and Indian War. Each September, the fort becomes the site of an 18th-Century Trade Faire. We've been wanting to go to this for years but something always seems to interfere. Randy and Jesse went rafting with the Boy Scouts, so Duncan, Laurel and I seized the day.

Here's a view of one part of the fort. During the Trade Faire weekend, hundreds of reenactors, tradesmen, and entertainers gather to recreate a colonial trade faire. Each building in the garrison is open and reenactors explain what would have been there. We especially enjoyed the infirmary--something about that amputation saw was chilling. The battle reenactment was great fun. As our friend and reenactor Chris explained, "We (the Blue guys) lose today, but tomorrow the Red Coats lose."

Notice the plethora of dead Blue guys and the victorious Red Coat. After the battle we headed over to the magic show. Laurel and Duncan both got to help the magician with some of his tricks:

What an awesome afternoon! Those guys had to be boiling up in their outfits on this 95 degree day, but they sure made it look like fun. Chris was a fabulous tour guide. It's good to have friends in high places. Here is Laurel with Bess, in her outfit. How adorable is she in her finery?

(That's Duncan and Janice behind them in the infirmary, learning all the gory details of tooth-pulling.) And below are the tents in which the reenactors sleep during the weekend. Makes me happy for my bed tonight. But still, it looks like fun.

Ft. Loudoun is about 30 minutes south of Knoxville in Vonore on Highway 411. Right across the road from Ft. Loudoun is the equally interesting Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, which is a fabulous museum of the history of the Cherokee in Eastern Tennessee and of the writing system developed by Sequoyah. Both the museums are open every day for a small admission fee. Ft. Loudoun has several upcoming living history and garrison weekends, which are listed on the website.

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