Battle to dedicate Commemoration Bridge

KAYLA BREEN/STAFF PHOTOBeekmantown Elementary School student Elena Recor smiles as she poses next to her winning Recognition of the Battle of Plattsburgh poster, held by City of Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read, during the Battle of Plattsburgh news conference Wednesday at City Hall.

PLATTSBURGH — New and old faces will be joining the lineup of festivities for this year’s Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration weekend.

Celebrated over five days, starting Wednesday, Sept. 11 to Sunday, Sept 15., the event will feature historical re-enactments, children’s games, concerts, food vendors, fireworks and much more, suitable for the whole family.

“There will be something for everyone,” said Stan Ransom, dressed in 19th-century period clothing, during Wednesday’s news conference at City Hall describing the various events.

WHY WE DO THIS

Former Battle of Plattsburgh Chair and current advisor Kit Booth expressed the need for this commemoration event.

“To me, this is the most important battle that happened during the War of 1812,” Booth explained while talking about the significant history that took place on Cumberland Bay, less than a mile from where he stood.

“It happened right here in Plattsburgh, and we need to continue to commemorate this event as a very important event of Plattsburgh’s history.”

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Booth also expressed a strong need for volunteers during Wednesday’s news conference and acknowledged the age gap in committee members and volunteers.

“We need volunteers desperately,” he said.

“We need volunteers this year, and we need volunteers for the future to create a committee team that’s younger than we are.

“It’s time for new people to take over and do the job.”

Mary Simmers said she originally got involved with the Battle of Plattsburgh because she noticed a need for help.

Simmers has attended many Battle of Plattsburgh events and agrees with Booth about the commemoration’s value to the community.

“It’s so important,” she said.

NEW EVENTS

This year, the Battle of Plattsburgh will feature new events, including a History Program and a special dedication ceremony of a downtown footbridge, in honor of Battle of Plattsburgh volunteers.

Gary VanCour, longtime Battle of Plattsburgh volunteer, will be headlining the first History Program event, which will feature two 20-minute talks by local historians on Thursday, Sept. 12., at 6 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 13., at 5 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Both programs will be held at 30 City Hall Place.

“We wanted to have some kind of talk about the aspects of the Battle of Plattsburgh,” VanCour said while discussing how the new event came about.

The talks will focus on the perspectives of the battle and its impacts. Featured speakers include Dr. Richard Frost, author of Plattsburgh Military Reservation, War of 1812 reenactor Vince Puliafico and medical historian Dr. Paolo Fedi.

Battle of Plattsburgh events will kick off Wednesday with a dedication ceremony for the downtown Plattsburgh footbridge, officially named Commemoration Bridge.

The ceremony will honor the vibrant history of volunteerism and appreciation for the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemorations led by tireless volunteers Booth and VanCour.

It will take place Wednesday, Sept. 11., at 4 p.m. at the Green Street end of the footbridge, near the banks of the Saranac River.

OLD FACES

The Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration is welcoming some exciting new faces and old friends in terms of concerts and entertainment this year.

The Strand will be showcasing a John Lennon and Paul McCartney tribute band Thursday, Sept. 12., something Scott “Skippy” DuBrey is excited for.

“It’s an exciting lineup,” DuBrey said during the news conference.

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines of Cobourg, Ontario, Canada and the U.S. Navy Band Northeast will be returning to The Strand stage.

The event will also feature The Israel Green Tavern, Stan Ransom, The Connecticut Peddler, The Busco Bandits, and the Too Tall String Band at Olive Ridley’s throughout the weekend, some of who have graced the stage during Commemoration weekend before.

Musical acts also include Beartracks and Fulton’s Folly on the Lion Club Bandshell Stage.

“There’s definitely some music you don’t want to miss,” DuBrey said.

‘I’M SO HAPPY’

Organizers also unveiled the 2019 Battle of Plattsburgh Button.

The Commemorative button, which sells for $15, allows admission to all of the events, including concerts at The Strand and Olive Ridleys, Eliza Mooers Historic District Walking Tour, Kent Delord House Museum Open House, Macomb Ball and many other events.

This year, Beekmantown Elementary School student Elena Recor won first place in the Recognition of the Battle of Plattsburgh Poster Contest, solidifying her design on this year’s button.

Recor, excited about seeing her design on the button, beamed with happiness as Mayor Colin Read purchased the first button from Recor during the news conference.

“This is the happiest I’ve been in my entire life,” she said smiling while looking at the button.

Recor’s design, which features 19th-century battleships and clouds, came from her love of history, especially local history.

“I thought of boats first,” she said, talking about how she came up with her design. “I thought maybe I should draw a few more.”

“And some clouds,” she added lastly.

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER

The big parade this year will take place Saturday, Sept. 14., at 1 p.m.

It will begin at the former Elks Lodge on Cumberland Avenue and will move down to City Hall Place and end at Bridge Street.

As with tradition, several marching bands will be a part of the parade, along with several floats.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Read said.

“None of this would have been possible without the sponsorship of a number of benefactors who see the value of these events to educate and entertain our entire region. I look forward to seeing everyone in September.”

Email Kayla Breen:

kbreen@pressrepublican.com