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CTY fortmeigs10p Perrysburg resident John Destatte demonstrates making a neck stock for Bowling Green resident Victoria Boyle at Fort Meigs.
Perrysburg resident John Destatte demonstrates making a neck stock for Bowling Green resident Victoria Boyle at Fort Meigs.
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Published: Thursday, 8/22/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Step back in time with Life in Early Ohio

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Shawnee Indian Re-enactor Chad Rank of Crestline, Ohio cleans his rifle. Shawnee Indian Re-enactor Chad Rank of Crestline, Ohio cleans his rifle.
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First things first.

Tony Szymanski of Holland, Ohio demonstrates his tomahawk throwing skills at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio, Sunday, August 24, 2008. Tony Szymanski of Holland, Ohio demonstrates his tomahawk throwing skills at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio, Sunday, August 24, 2008.
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If you’re planning to go to the Life in Early Ohio re-enactment at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg this weekend and you see that it involves blacksmithing, coopering, tinsmithing, and other trades and you think, “OK, that’s cool, but what about the stuff that goes boom?” you’re covered.

Tamia Land of Northwood, Ohio, carries water to show how people lived in Ohio's early years. Tamia Land of Northwood, Ohio, carries water to show how people lived in Ohio's early years.
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“We learned the hard way that when people come to a historical fort they expect to see things blow up,” said Dan Woodward, Fort Meigs program manager.

The Early Ohio event has been taking place since 2007 and planners have tinkered with it a bit, including making sure that there will be musket firing demonstrations and a few cannons going off, he said. A previous year the weapons were omitted and more than a few people complained, so they’re back.

About 1,000 people are expected to attend the event Saturday and Sunday at the historical site.

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It will be teeming with re-enactors showing how leather was made, horses were shorn, and other trades were handled 200 years ago in what was then a frontier.

“We’re going to have a little taste of all the trades that were important in Ohio. Many of the things we’re showing are considered lost arts today. They’re not things you see everyday,” Mr. Woodward said.

“It gives people an idea of the work and craftsmanship that went into everyday activities many years ago.”

While military re-enactors tend to get all the attention, Fort Meigs is blessed with volunteers who enjoy showing off how tradesmen a couple of centuries ago worked. Mr. Woodward said many of them started from scratch because they were interested in the old ways. So they did research, bought supplies, and learned what are now essentially lost arts.

The result is an enriching educational experience that puts modern folks in touch with their roots, he said.

For his part, Mr. Woodward dabbles in blacksmithing, but “I wouldn’t call myself a blacksmith; that would be an insult to the trade.”

He will however help coordinate the weapons demonstrations and assist in making sure some things blow up.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for people 60 and older, $4 for students, free for children 5 and younger, Ohio Historical Society members, and active members of the U.S. military. Life in Early Ohio will be Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fort Meigs, 29100 W. River Rd. Information: www.fortmeigs.org or 419-874-4121.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.



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