Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Busiest Season for Living History

(photo at left): a picture of me at the Plymouth (Michigan) Historical Society's cemetery walk)

For so many - too many - living historians, the end of the reenacting hobby for any year comes with the season of autumn. The leaves begin to change, a nip is felt in the air, and so the totes come out and in go the period clothing until April or May.

For some, I suppose, the warmer months of spring and summer are enough for them to reenact. Of course, those are usually the people that only go to a few events a year anyhow. Then you have the nuts! Enter...ME!

Reenacting in Autumn - I love it!

Yup - I am totally crazy over living history (as if you didn't know!), and I simply cannot end with the seasons. Those who we attempt to portray lived their lives the year 'round in their time, so, to me, it adds another bit of realism (is that the word I'm looking for?) to reenact in the 'off season.'
Here in southeastern lower Michigan the last 'official' battle reenactment took place in mid-October.

The Harvest Ball

Since then I have been to a Civil War ball, participated in my second cemetery walk (where I portrayed one from the mid-19th century), and conducted a period-dress civilian meeting.
November brings a non-period dress Michigan Roundtable meeting to discuss next year's Civil War reenacting activities, as well as Christmas at Crossroads Village, the Holly Dickens Festival, and a period-dress gathering of living historians at Greenfield Village.

Christmas at Fort Wayne - showing home life in Detroit circa 1863

Well, Christmas at Historic Fort Wayne where a few of us will portray a family in Detroit during the early 1860's (in an actual 19th century house) is a major highlight, followed the next day with Christmas at the Farm where my family (and a few friends) will become a farm family during the War - again, in an actual period correct farmhouse. Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village (twice!), a couple more dates at the Holly Dickens Festival, Ghosts of Christmas Past at the Crocker House, and then, finally, the 21st Michigan period Christmas party (in early January).

Yes, even President and Mrs. Lincoln enjoyed the Holly Dickens Festival

When you look at it, October, November, and December can actually be busier for living history than nearly any other time of the year!
Before you ask me when I have time for family, well, that's the best part: they join me at most of these events; there's nothing quite like time-traveling with your family!
And, yes, we do have our modern time - I happen to be a big movie fan and enjoy watching a good flick on a Saturday evening. That's the nice thing about winter events - they're usually day trips.

Enjoying a quick respite from the cold, a couple of Christmas Travelers have a warm inside the 1854 Buzzell House in Crossroads Village

If you go through reenacting withdrawals during the so-called 'off season,' then I encourage you to search out events that will enable you to get your 'fix' - or even come up with unofficial events of your own. Especially at Christmastime, it can put the holiday season in a whole new light!



Civil Folks said...

Great post Ken. Actually, our season begins with Autumn and goes through the Spring so we are looking forward to our Winter busyness.

Thanks for sharing.


lady Estelle said...

Great post, Ken. Actually, I feel the most comfortable in my period clothing in the cool Autumn weather.
With so many layers, I am able to keep warm.

It is nice to have event to go to.
Enjoy the harvest!
Lady Estelle