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French heritage, free music performance & commemorating WWI: Old Fort Niagara in November

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Mon, Oct 23rd 2017 03:10 pm
Old Fort Niagara's French Castle will be the hub of activity as the organization's staff and volunteers present `French Heritage Day` on Nov. 4. Activities include music, cooking demonstrations and the Great Lakes fur trade. (Photo by Wayne Peters)
Old Fort Niagara's French Castle will be the hub of activity as the organization's staff and volunteers present "French Heritage Day" on Nov. 4. Activities include music, cooking demonstrations and the Great Lakes fur trade. (Photo by Wayne Peters)
Old Fort Niagara will look to offer diverse and engaging programming in November, including French Heritage Day, a hearth cooking workshop, a free Scottish music performance, and a World War I history presentation. In addition, veterans and active military people will be admitted free on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
•French Heritage Day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4: French Heritage Day is an interactive living-history program that features the French influences on the fort in its earliest years. Throughout the day, there will be demonstrations of French soldier life, musket and artillery firings, the fur trade, foodways, travel, music and folklore of New France. Staff and volunteers will be dressed in period clothes and invite the public to learn more about the earliest influences on the fort.
The cost to attend French Heritage Day is regular admission to the fort ($12 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under) or is free to members of the Old Fort Niagara Association.
•Hearth cooking workshop, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4: A hearth cooking workshop will also be offered during French Heritage Day under the direction of Niagara County Historian Kate Emerson. Participants will use authentic 18th-century recipes to prepare dishes and desserts that are cooked over an open fire in the French Castle boulangerie.
Ingredients, recipes and cooking tools are provided. Registration is required by calling 716-745-7611. The cost is $50 per person, or $45 for members.
•Scottish fiddle and cello performance, 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6: Old Fort Niagara will present a free concert of Scottish music in the Visitor Center theater. Tim Macdonald, on fiddle, and Jeremy Ward, on cello, are making an album-release tour stop at the fort to perform a full playlist of historic music and discuss how music was made, and played, in the 18th century.
They describe their style as "mixing High Baroque chamber music with high-energy dance tunes, and their 18th-century Scottish aesthetic brings a fresh perspective to the tradition." More information is available at www.timandjeremy.com.
•Fort Niagara's role in World War I, 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 (Free admission for veterans and military personnel all day.): On Veterans Day, Robert Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association, will present a program in the Visitor Center theater about Fort Niagara's role in World War I.
"New" Fort Niagara was used as a training facility for two U.S. Reserve Officers Training Corps camps in 1917 when the ROTC program was just getting started. Emerson's presentation will share historical background information and photos that show how the area, now known as Fort Niagara State Park, was used to train young men for military service 100 years ago.
This accompanies a special World War I exhibit in the Visitor Center museum that features uniforms, artifacts, letters and photos specific to the training camps.
Veterans and active military people with ID will be admitted free on Veterans Day. Otherwise, the cost to attend the presentation and visit the World War I exhibit is included in regular admission to the fort, or free to members of the Old Fort Niagara Association.
•Old Fort Niagara's final special event of 2017 will be "Castle by Candlelight" on Dec. 9 and 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. Visitors will tour the French Castle, decorated for the season by the Youngstown Garden Club, and lit entirely by candles. Meet historical characters, and witness the firing of the grand feu de joie.
This is a fundraiser to benefit educational programming. Admission is $10 per person.
Youngstown's Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association, a not-for-profit organization, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gates close 30 minutes after the last ticket sale.

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