“The Fort Massac Encampment is an exciting, colorful mix of history, pageantry and family fun,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) director Marc Miller. “From the military re-enactors to the period craft demonstrations, there are plenty of things to see and do during this great fall festival.”
The Fort Massac Encampment is hosted by the IDNR with support from the City of Metropolis, the Friends of Fort Massac, and local sponsors. The event provides visitors with a chance to experience what life was like at Fort Massac during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The site served as a military outpost along the Ohio River for personnel from France, Britain, and the early years of the United States from 1757 to 1814.
Event times are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 20 and 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 21.
The encampment features an opening ‘Posting of the Colours’ ceremony at 10 a.m. both days. At 3 p.m. on both days, mock military battles and tactical demonstrations will be performed by re-enactors on the Fort Massac grounds, with a military retreat ceremony closing both days’ activities. Hundreds of military re-enactors and other participants wearing period clothing will present the roles of explorers, traders, settlers and soldiers on the early Illinois frontier.
Family and youth activities include storytellers and puppet shows, face painting, and magic shows, 18th century musical entertainment, Voyageur canoe arrivals on the Ohio River front, and period craft makers demonstrating blacksmithing, basket-making, weaving, and other skills.
Admission to the encampment festival is free and parking is provided at the Old Fairgrounds adjacent to the park. Tram service will be provided and is accessible to visitors with disabilities.
Fort Massac State Park is closed to public vehicle traffic during festival hours. The Fort Massac State Park boat ramp area will be closed from Friday morning, Oct. 19 through the end of the festival on Sun., Oct. 21.
Fort Massac State Park, which opened as Illinois’ first state park in 1908, is located on the Ohio River at 1308 East Fifth Street in Metropolis. For more information about the encampment and the park, contact the site office at 618/524-4712.
Visitors are reminded that, due to structural problems, the reconstructed historic fort at Fort Massac State Park is not open to the public.