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Fort Frederick offers closer look at history

July 10, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

BIG POOL - Keith Taylor of Pittsburgh "lucked out" Saturday: He just happened to come by Fort Frederick State Park on its Military Field Days weekend and received an up-close look at history in action.

He was returning from visiting Harpers Ferry and Antietam Battlefield. When he opted to stop at Fort Frederick too he expected to see just another fort and battlefield, he said.

Instead, he came across about 180 re-enactors. And he said he learned the fort was used for three different wars: the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

"It is pretty neat. It adds a lot to the experience," he said. "I totally lucked out."

The hot weather this week, combined with rain Saturday morning, kept away some visitors and re-enactors, said Dave Moore, park historian.

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About 500 people came for the annual event, which was fewer than expected, he said. Last year about 800 people attended.

They were hoping for about 300 re-enactors, Moore added.

Despite the weather, Jim Klipsin Sr. of Midland and Harold Nicol of Frostburg said they enjoyed the event, which they have been attending for more than 10 years.

Klipsin said he used to be a re-enactor and would set up a booth and tell stories. Now he usually just watches, he said.

"It is a great way to teach children history," he said. It helps people learn what they may not be taught in school, he said.

One of the re-enactors was David Dematteis of Lovingston, Va., who said he does it in order to preserve history.

He is a first sergeant with the 16th Virginia unit. About six of the 16 members in the unit came to the fort.

"It is a great site, and people are very considerate," he said.

Military Field Days continues today at the park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a service charge of $3 per adult and $2 per child ages 6 to 12. The event is free for children 5 and younger.

For information, call 301-842-2155.

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