Sadly, I've had these photos on my desktop for over a month. (I've very far behind when it comes to photos and journaling. And emails, for that matter.) In short, Mississinewa 1812 is a living history commemoration of the battles fought along the Mississinewa River in December 1812.
It was rainy the weekend we went, and a bit gray. Dull. Damp. I had never seen a battle reenactment before but, to tell the truth, I was a bit disappointed. Cannon boom. March. March. March. March. March. Stand. Stand. One step. Two steps. Cannon boom. Stand. Stand. Point gun. Lower gun. Stand. Stand. Cannon boom. The lack of "deaths" was discouraging; since the ground was still saturated with rain, many of the "soldiers" refrained from falling into the squishy, yielding grass. It was interesting, but a bit boring, in my opinion. Too much standing and needless hollering. Furthermore, the reenactment just reminded me of how bloody America's history is. We had to fight the British. The French. The British and the Native Americans. The Mexicans. More Native Americans. Each other. If it's anything we're good at, it's slaughtering each other.
However, I absolutely loved the villages; there were military encampments, Native American longhouses, and camps along the river. It should be said that within each camp area, each item must be authentic. It doesn't have to be an actual antique, but it must be authentic to the 1812 era. Food must be cooked over a fire. Beds must be made of straw and wool blankets inside the cloth tents. There are craftsmen and traders, cooks and musicians. Fiddles. Wooden whistles. Tin cups. Cast iron skillets. Each of the participants of the three-day festival must wear traditional garments. Of course, visitors can buy garments: cloaks, leather shoes, fibrous pants, gauzy aprons. You can purchase wooden cooking utensils, spy a blacksmith hammering away at a weapon, forging and shaping and manipulating. You can buy quills, handmade soap. Hand-bound journals and feathers and beaded moccasins. Eat apple pie. Drink root beer. Gorge on a fire-roasted turkey leg. Ask. Talk. Receive answers and information. It's this--the living and functional atmosphere--that draws so many thousands each year.