History comes alive at Cantigny Park in Wheaton this weekend as more than 400 living history actors descend on the grounds for the 27th annual Revolutionary War Reenactment.
The free and historically accurate reenactment is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and is produced by the North West Territory Alliance.
Many of the participants will pitch tents and camp on the grounds, and visitors are invited to stroll through the authentic encampment and witness how civilians and soldiers lived in the late-1700s.
Twice a day, Redcoats and American patriots will engage in mock battles, complete with cannon and musket fire and educational sideline narration.
New this year is a Revolutionary War Symposium held Saturday at the First Division Museum. Visiting scholars from the University of Virginia, Xavier University and St. John’s University will give free presentations about some of the people and issues of the Revolutionary War.
Saturday begins with morning colors and troop inspection, said Marilyn Hess with the North West Territory Alliance. After that comes a morning battle followed by lunch. After lunch will be a fashion show featuring men’s, women’s and children’s fashions of the day.
Following the fashion show will be a children’s battle using not only reenactors’ children but spectators as well, she said.
“It’s really a lot of fun and the kids just love it,” she said.
There will be a band, an artillery demonstration, another battle and closing colors as well.
Sunday’s schedule is “about the same,” she said, with the difference being a morning church parade. There are more children’s games as well on Sunday, plus demonstrations by a lace maker, a blacksmith and a wood worker.
“In camp, we do different things. I’ll be letting children write with a quill pen. Some men will be reading to the children about manners,” she said. “There’s going to be a man that is going to handle naughty children. He’s going to put the children in stocks if the parents request it.”
There will be a ladies’ tea and a rag fair, which is any 18th-century item no longer in use, from cooking utensil to clothing item.
“There’s quite a bit to do,” she said. “We have the French, the Germans, the British, the Colonials and the militia all coming.”