Best. Fourth of July. Ever.

If you’re anywhere near the Niagara Falls area, drop your sad little picnic-n-fireworks plans and haul ass up to Old Niagara Fort because they have the coolest events scheduled for the long weekend.

Old Fort Niagara has guarded the mouth of the Niagara River since 1726, and was in the eye of many a French, British, US and Iroquois storm. This year is the 250th anniversary of the Siege of Niagara, so to commemorate it the fort is throwing the history nerd shindig to end all history nerd shindigs.

More than 2,500 re-enactors plan to gather along the mouth of the Niagara River—more than doubling the population of this tiny village — to commemorate a war for control of North America.

They will wage six battles over the course of three days, attack a tall ship in the harbor and carry out a nighttime artillery salute, all to depict the scene in July 1759 when a British army, along with 1,000 Iroquois allies, laid siege to the Frenchheld fort. […]

[Thomas Faith, chairman of the re-enactment committee] said that the Rangers and Native American contingents have been working for three years to present two scenarios to be performed in native languages — the French Embassy to the Native Americans at 11 a. m. and the British Embassy to the Native Americans at 2 p. m., both on Saturday.

“This is important because both countries competed on a daily basis for the loyalty of the Iroquois,” he said, adding that it also highlights the crucial role of the interpreters.

You can see the schedule of events here. Look at all the awesome packed into just the first 3 hours of events:

Friday, July 3

10:00 am: Battle on the Beach – A French hunting party from Fort Niagara discovers that British forces have landed east of Fort Niagara. Rangers, Native American warriors, and French troops engage in combat. Both sides are reinforced until a major battle unfolds on the shores of Lake Ontario.

10:00 am – Noon: Meet the British Engineer – Siege Works

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:18th Century Games – British Camp

Noon: L’Iroquoise Attacked – Cove Area
British boats attack the French schooner Iroquoise, anchored in the cove below Fort Niagara.

1:00 pm:Parade and Pageantry – Parade Field
The armies pass in review with over 2,500 reenactors, dressed as Native American warriors, French, British, and American Provincial soldiers.

An attack on a tall ship narrated by the descendant of Rene LaForce, the Iroquoise‘s captain! Artillery bombardment/fireworks display! Three days of reenactment awesomeness, all for $13 bucks a head, kids under 6 get in free.

Be sure to check out the video of the reenactors being adorable here. If I could teleport to New York state I’d be posting from there right now.


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Comment by Capitol History
2009-07-03 15:34:08

Fan of history? Follow historic United States Capitol and Congressional events on Twitter at A project of the United States Capitol Historical Society.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-07-03 16:05:46

That’s a groovy use of Twitter. Thank you for the link. :thanks:

Comment by seb
2009-07-04 12:50:56

I’m in Niagara, though on the Canadian side. Sadly, no time to go over the border today but I might go down to Niagara-On-The-Lake (directly opposite Fort Niagara) to see if I can catch a glimpse of it!

Thanks for the heads up… oh, and welcome back!

Comment by livius drusus
2009-07-04 15:14:28

Woohoo! That is so exciting. Go this evening and I bet you’ll see the artillery bombardment/fireworks. Be sure to post again and tell me all about it. :yes:

Thank you. It’s great to be back.

Comment by sebastien
2009-07-05 15:28:44

I was a day too late, unfortunately… did not see anything. I think the pyrotechnics only took place on Friday. Bummer, I’m not sure I’ll be around for the 300th :(

The Buffalo News has updated its article with a bunch of nice photos though.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-07-05 19:23:49

Aw, shame. From the pictures it looked like a great time.

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