Hundreds of reenactors bring French & Indian War to life at Old Fort Niagara

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YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) – One of the biggest French and Indian War reenactments in the world is happening at Old Fort Niagara this weekend.

It’s a chance for visitors to step back in time from 2019 to 1759, and it’s a reminder of the lasting impact of the French and Indian War.

Keep in mind, this article is in English, not French, because of the outcome of that conflict.

Hundreds of re-enactors from around the world are helping educate thousands of visitors about that war, and specifically, the siege of 1759 at Fort Niagara.

“It’s when the British capture the fort from the French,” said Robert Emerson, Old Fort Niagara Executive Director.

“The French originally founded the fort in 1726 and they were here for about 33 years, and during the French and Indian war, the British besieged it for 19 days,” Emerson explained. “So our events this weekend really recreate all those activities that were going on well over 250 years ago. Actually, 260 years ago this year.”

Those activities include everything from battle reenactments to blacksmith demonstrations and exhibits on 18th century medicine, musical performances, and cooking demos.

Visitors are totally immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of life during the French and Indian War.

For those who need a refresher from school, the French and Indian War lasted from 1754-1763.

It pitted the French and its North American colonies against the British and its colonies, which later became the United States. Shifting alliances with Native Americans shifted the course of the war.

The French lost control of Fort Niagara to the British in July of 1759 in the siege that’s being reenacted there this weekend.

The encampment continues through Sunday at Old Fort Niagara.

“We try our best to educate folks about what happened here 260 years ago,” Emerson said. “We have narrations of everything, so we have battle reenactments, but we try to explain what’s going on out there one the field, so people can take away a basic understanding of what it was like to be a soldier in the French army or the British army, what it was like to be a Native American here caught between the two, and how important this was to the history of our region and to the US and Canada.”

Tickets are available at the gate.

Click here for more information.

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