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Re-enactment a way of honoring history

May 26, 2003|By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Bob Schwartz of Sharpsburg had a simple explanation Sunday for why he was dressed in war regalia as a private in the weekend French and Indian War muster at Fort Frederick State Park: It gives him a chance to wear several layers of wool on a hot, humid day, he said.

He shrugs.

"You get used to it," he said.

Then he became more serious, saying he re-enacts that war, and sometimes the Civil War, because it gives him a more personal sense of what it was like to live in another era, he said.

"It is also a way of honoring our ancestry," he said. It is his third year re-enacting locally.

Schwartz and others at the festival Sunday said participation and attendance at the annual muster - a gathering of troops - was down this year, probably due to the weather forecasts and the Garrett County, Md., pileup on Friday.

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Out of 120 registered re-enactors, about 70 attended, Park Director Ralph Young said.

But the event still drew vendors from as far as Delaware and visitors from outside the Tri-State area, such as Alice Kroehloe, who said she lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

She said it is one thing to read about history, but more meaningful when you are able to see and meet people actually re-enacting it.

Georgia-Ann Kline of Wolfsville, Md., said she enjoys going to re-enactments because it helps her find out what life was like for people in an earlier time and what burdens they had to endure.

Her granddaughter, Megan Kline, 12, said she likes seeing the vendors demonstrating how baskets were made back then.

Chris Holmgren of Dickerson, Md., owner of Seneca Creek Joinery, demonstrated to families how people at that time would use an ax to carve a bowl. It would take about two days to do so, not counting the time it took to cut down the tree and get the wood, he said.

Holmgren has been to the event to watch, but this is his first year displaying and selling historical items, he said.

"It has been a fun weekend, but a little damp," he said.

And in case anyone forgot the times had changed since the war, part of a sign advertising Tavern on the Potomac served as a reminder.

At the bottom of the sign for the establishment, run by the Clear Spring District Historic Association, was this request: "Respect the ladies - no cursing, spitting or fighting."

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