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Old Fort Niagara program will feature mid-18th century winter life and survival

by jmaloni


Wed, Jan 14th 2015 02:30 pm

Activities include snowshoeing, fur trading, chocolate-making and games

Old Fort Niagara invites the public to experience mid-18th century winter life Saturday, Feb. 7, when it will host programs, demonstrations and hands-on opportunities to learn about winter survival at the fort in the 1750s, the Great Lakes fur trade, Native Americans and snowshoeing.

The day's activities, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be suitable for all ages. Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, as most events will happen outdoors.

•12:30 p.m. Staying Warm in a Cold World

How did people survive a Niagara winter before electricity and central heat? This program will examine winter clothing, bedding and heating.

•1:15 p.m. Winter Trade Demonstration

Demonstrations and hands-on activities about the workings of the 18th century fur trade on the Great Lakes. Learn about the Great Lakes' earliest business enterprise, examine popular trade goods and furs, and learn about the lives of Native Americans and hivernants (winter traders).

•2 p.m. Snowshoe Patrol

Join educators from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to discover the history of the snowshoe. Visitors will be invited to wear a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes (weather permitting) to accompany a patrol into the woods east of the fort. In the woods, watch a skirmish between re-enactors, then enjoy complimentary hot chocolate prepared over an open fire.

Snowshoes are provided first-come, first-served.

•Ongoing Activities from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

  • Hornsmithing (see how decorative powder horns are made)
  • The Native American game "Snow Snakes"
  • Make-and-take a Native American cornhusk doll
  • Making hot chocolate in the 18th century manner
  • "Soldier Life" - clothing, personal kit, weapons, equipment
  • Storing, preparing, and cooking food
  • 18th century games

The cost to attend these events is regular admission to the fort ($12/adult; $8/children ages 6-12; ages 5 and under admitted free). It is free for Old Fort Niagara members.

Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is located in Youngstown. It's open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the winter months. (Admissions end at 4:30 p.m.)

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