May 23, 2013

Re-enactment to celebrate Champlain anniversary

CHAMPLAIN — This weekend, the Town of Champlain may look as though it’s the site of an experiment in time travel.

The town is celebrating its 225th anniversary, and commemorations will feature the Champlain Military Timeline, a weekend of living history presented by Northern New York Historical Impressions.

Re-enactors will don the uniforms of soldiers from various time periods, highlighting the historical changes over the Town of Champlain’s existence.

“It’s kind of unique to have people from different time periods get together,” Champlain resident Calvin Castine said of the event.

The Town of Champlain is hosting the event, with Councilor Dennis Roberts’s assistance. Castine has been helping to get the word out and will record the timeline for his Home Town Cable’s public-access programming and website.

“Typically, a re-enactment focuses on one event, and therefore, one time period. Usually it’s, ‘We’re re-enacting (a battle from) the Civil War,’ or ‘We’re re-enacting (a battle from) the War of 1812.’ 

“But this group uses multiple time periods.”


Champlain Town Historian Thomas Mandeville noted some of the advantages of the novel approach. 

“It’s a good way to involve a whole bunch of different people,” he said. “People can only afford equipment for so many wars.”

Mandeville has also observed a growing interest in this type of re-enactment, which is slated for its first appearance in the town. 

“It gets larger every year,” he said. “These are catching on around the country.”

While Mandeville himself has not been a re-enactor in the military timeline, some of his friends have, and, of course, the event piques his interest as a historian.

The timeline will take place on River Street in the Village of Champlain this Saturday and Sunday during the 46th-annual St. Mary’s Bazaar, held by St. Mary’s Parish with many events on the hill behind the church on Church Street and a parade on Sunday.

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