Last Saturday, Oct. 24, my wife and I, along with nearly a hundred others, attended a Civil War era ball in Lansing, Michigan. It was held in a large hall, part of an old (but still active) church, decorated very appropriately for the season. The band - The Olde Michigan Ruffwater String Band - performed period music while band leader Glen Morningstar walked us through the steps of the contra-dances and quadrilles.
The 7th Michigan hosts this annual ball and they go all out to keep it period-accurate, and any seasoned reenactor that has attended the harvest Ball can see that they do a tremendous job.
And did we have a good time! The Virginia Reel, the Spanish Waltz...all of the favorites were played, and my wife and I danced the greater majority of them, usually with each other.
With my back to the camera, I am, with my dear Esposita in the purple dress, attempting to dance a quadrille with three other couples. We did pretty darn good!
For many of the reenactors, this is the last gathering of the season.
No more wearing of the period clothing until springtime.
I find that kind of sad...there are still fun period things one can still do during the so-called off season here in the cold northern part of the country if one chooses to do so. For us in the Detroit area we have numerous activities to keep our 'hobby' alive during the winter months. Maybe not to the extent of a large reenactment, but there is the opportunity to partake in some fine living history. For instance, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving many of us plan to participate in the Christmas at Crossroads Village event where a number of us have been asked to become townsfolk...become part of the atmosphere...you know, walk around the open-air historical village, go in and out of the homes and shops, talk to the visitors...
I am really looking forward to this. I haven't been to Crossroads at Christmastime in at least 15 years. A great way to begin the holiday, don't you think?
Just a couple weeks after that we will be participating in Christmas at the Fort - Historic Fort Wayne that is, in downtown Detroit. I have not done this one yet but I have heard nothing but good about it. Plus, we'll be inside period-correct structures.
There is also the 21st Michigan's period-dress Christmas party, held in an 1872 schoolhouse. A traditional meal will be served and old-time fiddle music will be played - a true time-travel experience.
I hear that the Plymouth Historical Museum is hoping that the 21st Michigan visits once again next February for Lincoln's birthday.
So, as you can see, although they're a bit spread out we still have at least monthly events, giving us the chance to continue to bring the past to life throughout the year.
How about in your neck of the woods?