Friday, September 23, 2011

Behold Colonial Revelry!

I don't know how long the Mendon Station Festival has been going on for, because I always miss it. This year I saw this poster, was delighted by the fact that it did not use Comic Sans and was not printed on pale green 8.5 x 11 paper, i.e. it was actually designed on purpose by someone, and decided that I would go. Just to support that kind of thing.

The fact that I showed up just in time for the Revolutionary War reenactment was not coincidental. Look how cute. They didn't reenact the entire war, thank goodness . . .

. . . because it takes approximately five and a half years to load a musket. We'd have been there into the next century.

Apparently there was very little chance you'd actually get hit with a musket ball during battle. Or, to be more specific, there was very little chance you'd get hit by the guy who was aiming at you. You might get hit by the guy next to the guy who was aiming at you, who was aiming at some other guy. Muskets are not known for their accuracy. Nevertheless, I don't think I'd feel particularly safe, considering that your chances of getting hit go up a lot when there are a few hundred of these coming at you all at once.

They got their bayonets out and it was terrifying, I tell you. All seven of them. Plus the drummer. Terrifying.

This guy reminded me of George Washington. Yes, I know he's clearly a redcoat. Sacrilege! and whatnot.

When all the pretend violence was over, I wandered around and stumbled across this guy who makes stuff out of horn. Like spoons. Apparently they last forever; they just need to be oiled every so often. The fellow who made them was distracted by the tar he had all over his hands. I'm not sure why he had tar on his hands, but I'm sure there was a very good reason. In the end, he very reluctantly poured a bit of whiskey out of a tiny keg to clean his hand with, grumbling about the waste. I don't think he was in character.

He had also done some rather interesting carvings. I suppose this was some kind of hunting horn or something. Really, he was very distracted. 

Who should I meet in my travels but my old friend, Meridian! He smiled for me and asked how I was, and we talked about politics and the economy for a little while, and agreed to meet again in the spring, if not before.

Over at the reenactor's camp, I decided that if I must ever fight in a war, I would like to be the guy that gets the tent the size of a small merry-go-round.

There was a lady there with an array of items, which she could not answer any questions about because she was just holding down the fort for someone else. So I don't know anything about any of this beyond the obvious. Mostly I just wanted to know whether that one pin was bent on purpose or by accident.

For a bunch of dirty soldiers and "camp followers," as they're called, they had some lovely dishes.

Afterwards I went and watched some amateurs learn how to shoot muskets, but decided to leave after only a couple because ten years had passed and I could feel my hair turning gray. I didn't stuff mine face with barbecue or applaud gallant horsemanship, but the colonial revelry was pretty decent, and I might go again next year just to see if that guy has gotten the tar off yet.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you take pictures where ever you go! Perhaps this explains the odd noises we heard from time to time that weekend - musket shots. Long live Colonial Revelry! and Mead and Antler Spoons and Grog (but only if you are a sailor).

Many years ago, at a revolutionary war re-enactment at Genesee Country Museum was the first time that I realized how bad a musket really was as a firearm, how close to each other the battle lines were, and why armies wanted many hundreds of soldiers in the ranks to fire all at once in volleys. 10 minutes of watching that event got the point across much better than years of history classes, Drums Along the Mohawk or Johnny Tremain, and Mel Gibson movies.

Simon said...

"Antler Spoons" LOL

Yes, eighteenth-century war was really strange. The guy with the microphone told us that some commander offered a two hundred pound reward to the person who could prove he had actually hit was he was aiming at. Nobody claimed it.