Ogdensburg Founder's Weekend kicks off Friday with ghost stories, mock battles, camp life, demonstrations
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 11:41 am

OGDENSBURG -- French and Indian War re-enactors, period craftspeople and artisans will rendezvous on Van Rensselaer (Lighthouse) Point this coming weekend for the annual Founder’s Weekend Re-enactment and Colonial Trade Fair. A full schedule of military re-enactments, camp life demonstrations and primitive skills workshops are scheduled for July 14, 15 and 16.

Founder’s Weekend is a commemoration of Ogdensburg’s French colonial roots. The weekend is a colorful tribute to the founding of Fort de La Présentation in 1749 through to the end of the French period in 1760 with the Battle of the Thousand Islands, which was the last battle of the French and Indian War.

For more than a decade re-enactors have assembled on Van Rensselaer Point (formerly Lighthouse Point) to commemorate Ogdensburg’s French colonial history. The military re-enactment has grown from fewer than two dozen at the original one day gathering to several hundred re-enactors coming from New York, Ontario and Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states and provinces.

Admission to the event will cost adults $7. Those with a military ID pay $4, and children ages 7 thru 12 pay $2. Children 6 and younger will be admitted free to the events.

The action-packed weekend attracts a range of re-enactors from Canada and the United States. Many from Quebec descend from the men who served here more than 250 years ago in regular and militia regiments. Similarly, many Americans portray the provincials and rangers raised in the areas in which they now live, and some may have had ancestors serving in those units.

White canvas tents run the length of the point defining the well-ordered French and British camps, the cluster in the Navy camp, the hodge-podge of navy tents and the array of merchants and civilian trades.

History comes to life during Founders Weekend with a range of 18th-century daily camp activities from the preparation of meals to battles on land and water. Medical care and black smithing, fife and drums, spinning and quilting are some of the activities visitors may encounter.

Soldiers in bright uniforms drill and patrol their camps against enemy incursion. Skirmishes pop up throughout the day, and there are morning clashes on the river and afternoon battles on land that visitors can watch from bleachers.

Founder’s Weekend is open to re-enactors by invitation. Preference will be given to individuals or groups that have attended Founder’s Day Weekend in previous years and accurately depict mid-18th-century French and British military and civilian life, and Native society.

Contact Tim Cryderman at 315-322-5519 or [email protected], for more information or to register to participate as a sutler, trader, artisan or military re-enactor.

Fort de la Présentation founded in 1749 by Abbé Francois Picquet as a mission to Roman Catholic Iroquois and their allies.

In the mid-1750s, the surrounding native populations from both shores of the St. Lawrence River and adjacent islands neared 3,000, from which warriors joined the French in their conflict with England during the French and Indian War.

Fort de la Présentation was abandoned in 1759 when the British gained the upper hand in the war and most of the Native population dispersed.

In 1760, the two-part Battle of the Thousand Islands signaled the end of the French régime in North America. The French vessel L’Outauaise was captured by British gunboats off Isle Royale in August and later that month Fort Lévis (on what is now known as Chimney Island) surrendered to the British after more than a week long artillery bombardment.

Fort de la Lévis, defended by about 250 French, Canadian troops and Native Americans, fell to an Anglo-American army over 11,000 strong.

In September 1760, Montreal surrendered and Canada officially joined the other American colonies as part of the British Empire after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1763.

The detailed schedule of events for Founder's Day is listed as follows:

Friday, July 14

• 8:30 p.m., Ghost stories and colonial tales around the campfire. Rain location: Sherman Inn, 615 Franklin St.

Saturday, July 15

• All day, colonial trades, Camp life, Drills, Demonstrations and Exhibits throughout the weekend. Scavenger Hunt for kids

• 10 a.m., gates open.

• 10 a.m.-noon, cartridge rolling for the young at heart with George Cherepon.

• 10:30 a.m., colonial trade demonstrations.

• 10:30 a.m., colonial mid-wife with Holly Miller.

• 11 a.m., water battle begins.

• 11:30 a.m., children’s muster.

• 11:30 a.m., lecture, “Seven Nations Wampum” with Darren Bonaparte.

• 1 p.m., “Synopsis of the French and Indian War” with Jack Frost.

• 1:30 p.m., land battle begins.

• 2:15 p.m., mock duel followed by a medical demonstration.

• 3 p.m., English country dance demo.

• 3:30 p.m., children`s muster.

• 4 p.m. gates close.

• 7:30 p.m. English country dance at Freight House Restaurant.

Sunday, July 16

• All day, colonial trades, Camp life, Drills, Demonstrations and Exhibits throughout the weekend. Scavenger Hunt for kids. Youth 16 and younger will be admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult on Sunday.

• 7:30 a.m., mass at Lighthouse Point, bring own chair, on-site parking for the service; rain location, Notre Dame Church.

• 10 a.m, gates open.

• 10 a.m.-noon, cartridge rolling for the young at heart with George Cherepon.

• 11 a.m., water battle begins.

• 11:30 a.m., children’s muster.

• 1 p.m. “Synopsis of the French and Indian War” with Jack Frost.

• 1:30 p.m., land battle begins.

• 2:30 p.m., gates closed.

Sponsors for this year's event include: Barbara and Jack O'Keefe, Ogdensburg Rotary Club, The Freight House Restaurant, Pinto-Mucenski-Hooper-VanHouse & Co., White Gate Inn Bed & Breakfast, Marble Hill Designs, Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, Michael Seidman M.D., Dr. Patricia Mahoney, The Ole Smokehouse, St. Lawrence Valley English Country Dance Club, Frederick Remington Art Museum, AJ's Septic, R&R Automotive, Bruyere Chadwick Realty, LLC.;

And, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, Community Investment Services, Atlantic Testing Laboratories, Independent Order of Odd Fellows Seaway Lodge 41 Ogdensburg, Dr. Ravinder and Barbara Agarwal, Kiwanis International, Heuvelton Lions Club, McDonald's Restaurant, Mid-State Golf Car, Casella Waste Management, Betty Oves, Knights of Columbus, Little Italy Pizzeria and Restaurant, St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union, Sea Comm Federal Credit, North Country Public Radio and New York Council for the Humanities.