The Star Democrat
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Celebrate St. Michaels
The Town of St. Michaels on Saturday, Aug. 10, will host a celebration honoring the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812’s Battle of St. Michaels. The event will include re-enactments and cannon firings, a parade, boat rides, children’s activities, live music, food and a lantern-lighting ceremony celebrating the legendary “Town that Fooled the British.” The St. Michaels Art League “Celebrate St. Michaels” banners feature local artists’ work depicting the War of 1812 in St. Michaels, like this image, courtesy of the artist Kevin Snelling.
ST. MICHAELS — The Town of St. Michaels will bring the War of 1812’s history to life Saturday, Aug. 10, during a townwide Battle of St. Michaels Bicentennial.
The town’s waterfront and historic district will transform to a time 200 years ago, with re-enactments, boat rides, cannon firings, a Talbot Street parade, horse-drawn carriage rides, an art show and more. The events are free and open to the public, with food, beverages, and boat and horse-drawn carriage rides available for purchase.
The celebration will continue Sunday, Aug. 11, when the Talbot County Watermen’s Association hosts the fourth annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day and Crab Feast at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. The event will include a boat-docking contest, live music and celebrity appearances while honoring the watermen who work the same waters once under siege by the British 200 years ago. Tickets for this event will be available for purchase at the museum, the day of the event.
On Saturday, visitors will learn about “The town that fooled the British” and delve into the stories of St. Michaels’ residents and militia once under siege from the British in 1813.
The celebration will start at 10 a.m. with a parade down Talbot Street led by the Fort McHenry Guard in full regimental dress, along with the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the Eastern Shore Militia, Veteran Volunteers, Ship’s Company: War of 1812, the Royal Marines 1st Company 2nd Battalion and the Living History Troupe. Key venues for the day’s events will include Muskrat Park, Hollis Park, the St. Michaels Museum on St. Mary’s Square and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
British and American encampments will invite visitors to explore the dress and daily living conditions of the early 1800s, while discussing what life was like during that time period. Visitors will see the Chesapeake Bay’s skipjacks dockside, with skipjack sailing cruises, boat rides and other on-the-water opportunities offered along St. Michaels harbor throughout the festivities. Guided walking tours, military drills, cannon firings, children’s activities and the ceremonial unfolding of a historic War of 1812 flag will be among the activities for visitors to enjoy throughout the day.
The St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square, in conjunction with the Historical Society of Talbot County, will host re-enactors, teaching the art of candle dipping, exhibiting a diorama of the battle and demonstrating period dances, as well as providing walking tours of St. Michaels.
CBMM Director of the Center for Chesapeake Studies Robert Forloney will lead a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s “Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake” exhibit, which opened in May. Sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, author Ralph Eshelman will speak at the Christ Church Parish Hall about his book, “In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake.”
The Roadhouse Players will perform skits from “The Complete History of America (Abridged)” at various times during the day.
Children’s activities will include a tug of war between the Americans and the British, model-boat-building, candle-dipping, face-painting and period games, plus a chance to explore the Chesapeake aboard Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile.
Local restaurants and churches will offer food and drinks reminiscent of the time period, while town merchants offer sweet treats and more from their decorated storefronts. Pit beef, barbequed chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers also will be available throughout town.
The St. Michaels Art League’s “Celebrate St. Michaels” banners will be on display throughout the town and feature images of local artists’ interpretations of the War of 1812 in St. Michaels. The banners and original artwork will be on display at the Woman’s Club located on St. Michaels Square and will be available for purchase from the artists.
Closing ceremonies will take place at Muskrat Park, and include a Navy Brass Quintet concert and the final firing of the cannons before culminating in a “Lighting of the Lanterns” ceremony, celebrating the legend of the townspeople who saved St. Michaels from the British in 1813.