Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 18, 2012

A Time For Weekend Warriors

Commemoration 2005

River Raisin re-enactors commemorate the Battle at Frenchtown (provided photo)

Dressing in costume for Halloween has never been one of my favorite activities, but I’m fascinated by folks who dress in period clothing and pretend to be from another era.

I’m not talking about Elvis impersonators, although I would like to know more about what makes those folks tick. Not to mention thrust and swivel. I’m intrigued by those people who are so interested in a distant time or historical event that they make it their hobby to bring the past to life at battles and encampments, or attend things like the annual Somewhere In Time Weekend at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel. That’s the salute to the time-challenged love story that attracts hundreds of romantic souls dressed in a billion yards of lace and fabric to recreate the early 20th century.

I’ve written before about Muster On the Maumee, the terrific time-travel event at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio, where you can chat with warriors from Medieval knights to World War II soldiers (June 16-17, 2012).

A Colonial family at Muster On the Maumee, Fort Meigs, Ohio

There’s an industry in selling supplies necessary for recreating clothing and crafts; over 10,000 people attend the annual Kalamazoo Living History Show (March 17-18, 2012) to browse and to buy antique and reproduction clothing and goods representing the days from pre-Revolutionary War through the Civil War.

But many folks, like middle school history teacher Paul Ignagni, make their own authentic period clothing and uniforms. Several times each year he teaches class outfitted for the period or subject he’s covering, whether it’s as a Native American or a Revolutionary War or other soldier.

The warm weather months are filled with re-enactment events, but you can visit the past this weekend at activities in Monroe and Lansing, Michigan.

Commemoration of the Battles of the River Raisin

The bloodiest battle of the War of 1812 broke out in 1813 on the bank of the River Raisin at Frenchtown, a settlement in the southern Territory of Michigan.

British soldiers, teamed with Indians, fought a smaller number of U.S. troops on January 18 in an encounter that would end with a defeat for the Americans followed by a massacre of the wounded on January 23.

The scene of the Battle of Frenchtown, near what is known today as the City of Monroe, was designated a National Park Battlefield in 2009. Each January re-enactors commemorate the events at the site with a demonstration and ceremony beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, January 21. The park Visitor Center, which normally closed at this time of year, will be open for the free event.

The Civil War in Person

President Abraham Lincoln is scheduled to visit the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing for Saturday’s program, The Civil War in Person.Logo for Plowshares Into Swords exhibit shows a farmer and a Union soldier

In addition to the chance to meet the Prez you’ll be able to visit with ordinary soldiers and civilians, see the state’s collection of Civil War Flags and tour Plowshares Into Swords, a special exhibit about the effect the Civil War had on Michigan. The exhibit is open through February 5. The Civil War in Person runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. January 21.

Effective October 2011 there is a charge for museum admission. Parking on weekends is free.

Related Links:

Remember the Raisin

Travel Through History At Ohio Event

Visitor Info Clicks:



Pure Michigan



  1. My ex and I used to attend the Somewhere in Time weekend up on Mackinac Island each October and were fortunate enough to meet Christopher Reeve there one time. The first year we didn’t have a clue about dressing up, but after that we were full on dressed. My favorite outfit was an Edwardian dress with a driving duster coat and a big fancy hat with lots of netting. We’ve got a great place here in Lansing where we rented the clothes. Very fun!

    • Aha, I would love to witness (not dress up!) the Somewhere In Time Weekend.

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