Old Fort Niagara invites residents to partake in an annual holiday favorite on the fort grounds in Youngstown next month.
Once a year, visitors have the opportunity to see the 1726 French Castle lit entirely by candles. The holiday event, "Castle by Candlelight," takes place the first two Saturday nights of December and offers visitors the opportunity to experience what life was like 250 years ago.
In addition to the unique atmosphere, visitors will meet a variety of historical characters, including soldiers, Native Americans, fur traders, skilled artisans and camp followers. Twice each evening, at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., the fort's garrison will perform the grand feu de joie with muskets and artillery. This nocturnal "firing of joy" recreates an 18th century military ceremony usually employed to celebrate a great victory.
A variety of musicians will be on hand to provide holiday entertainment with fifes and drums, Celtic favorites and tavern songs. Visitors will have the opportunity to take part in several hands-on activities, such as writing with a quill pen or playing an 18th century game. In the castle's boulangerie, cooks will prepare a traditional holiday feast and explain dining customs of the 18th century.
Native Americans will demonstrate the Haudenosaunee game of snow snakes, and visitors will have a chance to make and take a cornhusk doll HOME.
The castle will feature holiday decorations created by the award-winning Youngstown Garden Club. Each year, the Garden Club fashions a new array of traditional decorations to lend the Great Lakes' oldest building a festive air.
The fort's log cabin will be open, offering hot beverages and live holiday music.
Admission to the event is $8 per person, with proceeds benefitting the fort's educational programming. Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring a flashlight.
The fort's museum shop will also be open throughout the holiday season, offering unique gifts for the history buff. The shop is open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily and offers a wide variety of unique gift items.