Fort Frederick charms newcomers

May 28, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

BIG POOL - Many who ventured to Fort Frederick State Park for the three-day celebration of the fort's 250th anniversary have been from out of town.

Some were first-timers who said they were delighted with their decision to visit the fort for at least part of their Memorial Day holiday activities.

A few even were humbled by the experience.

Natives of South America, Marcelo and Marisol Albornoz discovered the fort Saturday afternoon with their nephew, Francisco Aguirre, a student at Villanova University.

"We enjoy the love of history that the American people have," Marisol said, looking around at the re-enactors who all were painstakingly dressed for the part. "They truly live the life."


It's not the same in the Albornoz's homelands of Chile and Ecuador, and the couple said they are sorry their fellow South Americans aren't as steeped in their countries' pasts.

Both came to America in their preteens, and now live in Bethesda, Md.

"We came up to this area for the 135th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam and it was fantastic, too," Marcelo Albornoz said.

Christian Murray, 4, was with his mother, Laurie Murray, and Bob Raggi as they, too, experienced Fort Frederick for the first time Saturday.

"I liked playing in the stockade," Christian said as he maneuvered some Revolutionary War soldier figures he had obtained on a picnic table.

Raggi, a native New Yorker who now calls West Virginia home, said after seeing Fort Frederick, he feels it's like living history.

"This should be part of every school kid's history lesson," Raggi said.

Harry Rupp, a resident of Lancaster County, Pa., said he picked up a brochure about the Fort Frederick anniversary in a Hagerstown motel where he was staying while on business recently with the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

"I brought it home and we decided to come," Rupp said.

With his wife, Joan, and their son, Ryan, the Rupp family set out Saturday for the fort and were having a great time.

"I want to be a drummer boy," said Ryan, 6.

Joan Rupp said she saw the brochure and was thrilled with the idea of visiting the fort.

"We love history," she said.

Fort Frederick was built in 1756 by Maryland soldiers to protect English settlers from the French and their Indian allies. It also was used during the American Revolution and the Civil War.

All of the activities during the 250th anniversary celebration - which continues today - are free.

If you go

What: Fort Frederick's 250th anniversary celebration

When: Today, gates open at 9 a.m.

Where: Fort Frederick State Park, Big Pool

Today's events:

10 a.m. - Flag raising and 2nd Maryland Fife and Drum Corps performance

10:30 a.m. - French and Indian War and Civil War cannon demonstration

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Living history programs in and around the fort

Noon - French and Indian tactical outside fort wall

1 p.m. - Wildcat Regiment Band, Civil War music, stage 2

2 p.m. - Civil War living history demonstration

3 p.m. - Revolutionary War living history demonstration

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