Ogdensburg, N.Y. - Founder's Day Weekend in Ogdensburg, New York is not for the birds, even though names such as Merganser, Kestrel, Owl, Red Wing and Rooster color the event. These are a few of the traditional boats from Canada and the U.S. registered to help commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Thousand Islands, July 16-18 on Lighthouse Point. The evocative names don't stop there. Picture the Beaver River Trading Company, Bethlehem Trading Post, Druid's Oak and Flying Canoe. You will find them in sutler's row amongst the 18th-century merchants and exhibitors. They, along with Burnley and Trowbridge, Smoke & Fire, Smiling Fox Forge, Lion's Den Arms and two dozen others, offer everything soldiers and families of the mid-1700s would need and a lot modern shoppers may want: pottery; glassware; herbs; jewelry; art; clothing and a host of collectibles. "The Founder's Day Weekend planning committee has worked diligently to bring the best representatives of our heritage to Ogdensburg for the 250th anniversary commemoration of the last battle of the French and Indian War," said Barbara O'Keefe, President of the Fort La Présentation Association. "Beyond the boats ranging from a schooner to bateaux and the potpourri of the colonial trade fair, military re-enactors from the U.S. and Canada salute the spirit of the French and English armies and their colonial counterparts." The names of the military units call to mind their legacy. Rogers Rangers, Milice de Trois Pistoles, Regiment du Béarn, Fraser Highlanders, La compagnie du Detroit, Scholosser's Company, and the county militias of Albany, Herkimer and Ulster are some of the more than 30 re-enactment groups expected. "To enrich the visitor experience, we strive for a vibrant mosaic of life in the mid-18th century with women and children, soldiers and sailors, and musicians, dancers, weavers, seamstresses, artisans and tradesmen," said O'Keefe. "There's nothing boring about history here; we have something for everyone." With 10-years experience behind them, the organizers have something on the three-day schedule for children to those who have more academic interests. Children's activities include the old-time hoop and ball games, miniature logs to build cabins and forts, crafts and a military muster guided by re-enactors. The shrill of fifes and the skirl of pipes with drummers and highland dancers will entertain, and listen for the barrel organ. There are lectures each day about the Seven Years War on the St. Lawrence River and the histories of Fort de la Présentation, the forerunner of Ogdensburg, and Fort Lévis, the place of the last battle in 1760. And there is more, much more, including battlefield surgeons and the gory tools of their trade. Each afternoon, visitors will witness the two-part Battle of the Thousand Islands unfold: the capture of the French 10-gun corvette L'Outaouaise by armed British row galleys and the siege of Fort Lévis. Friday evening, July 16 a traditional contra dance at the Freight House Restaurant, across the road from Lighthouse Point, is free and open to everyone. Over breakfast Saturday, July 17 the public can meet and greet re-enactors in the restaurant. After breakfast, when the event opens, the first exciting event of the day is the bateau race pitting the crews of the traditional boats against each another. Saturday ends with an artillery duel at 9 p.m., followed by fireworks, all to be seen from Ogdensburg's waterfront. Lighthouse Point will not be open to the public. Special guests are coming from France, Canada, the United States, and also from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. A homecoming, too, is on tap for Ogdensburg native Mark Valley. This West Point grad and Iraq War veteran is an actor with a loyal following from his days in the soaps to his current starring role in Human Target. Mark plans to fall in with the French military re-enactors for most of the weekend.
###Background Fort History The Battle of the Thousand Islands in August 1760 led to the capitulation of Montreal and the end of the French Regime in Canada. August 23-25, 1760 General Jeffrey Amherst's Anglo-American army successfully besieged Fort Lévis commanded by Captain Pierre Pouchot after capturing the L'Outaouaise off La Présentation - the last French vessel on the St. Lawrence River - August 16, 1760. The French and Indian War (1755-1763) led to the creation of Canada and the United States of America. The French mission of La Présentation founded in 1749 by Abbé François Picquet was Ogdensburg's first settlement, almost 50 years before the arrival of American settlers. Until 1759 the countryside on both shores of the St. Lawrence was home to more than 3,000 Iroquois and their allies loyal to France. Warriors from La Présentation fought alongside the French and Canadians against the English in the Mohawk and Champlain Valleys. By 1758 the English gained the upper hand and construction of Fort Lévis began on Île Royal three miles down river from La Présentation. In March 1759 the wooden palisades of La Présentation were abandoned and the garrison went to Fort Lévis to complete the works in hope the stronger fort would stop the English advance. When an 11,000-strong Anglo-American army descended the river in August 1760, only 350 French soldiers and Canadian militia stood between them and Montreal. The Battle of the Thousand Islands was about to begin. FOUNDER'S DAY WEEKEND BATTLE OF THE THOUSAND ISLANDS Public Schedule Admission: $8 adults $1 children FRIDAY - JULY 16, 2010 10:00 AM GATES OPEN 11:00 AM Lecture - The attack on Fort Bull Revisited, Joe Robertaccio, Freight House Restaurant 20 Market Street across the road from Lighthouse Point. 1:00 PM Inspection of Troops 1:30 PM Water Battle begins 2:00 PM Land Battle begins 3:30 PM Kids muster at demonstration area 3:30 PM Lecture - Life at Fort La Présentation, Louis Valiquette, dining tent 4:30 PM Lecture - The Paintings of Thomas Davies, George Bray III, Freight House Restaurant. 5:00 PM GATES CLOSE 7:30 PM 18th-Century Dance at the Freight House (FREE AND OPEN TO PUBLIC) SATURDAY - JULY 17, 2010 8 AM - 11 AM North Country Breakfast: Breakfast with the Re-enactors at the Freight House to Benefit Ogdensburg Rotary Club and Founder's Day Weekend 10:00 AM GATES OPEN 10:00 AM 18th-century dance exhibition, demonstration area. 10:00 AM Bateau Race 10:30 AM Fur Trading scenario 1:00 PM Inspection & Review of Troops 1:30 PM Water Battle begins 2:00 PM Land Battle begins 3:00 PM Kids muster at demonstration area 3:00 PM Lecture - Native American Culture, Rick Salazer, dining tent 3:30 PM 18th-Century dance exhibition, demonstration area. 4:15 PM Bagpipes & Highland Dance, demonstration area 5:00 PM GATES CLOSE 9:00 PM NIGHT ARTILLERY BATTLE 9:30 PM FIREWORKS in Greenbelt area. The encampment will be closed during the Night Battle and Fireworks. The Night Battle artillery duel best viewed from the Greenbelt, with firing from Lighthouse Point, the Greenbelt and Fort Wellington in Prescott, the schooner La Revenante and the bateaux. No dogs, no bikes, no alcohol in Greenbelt please. SUNDAY - JULY 18, 2010 7:30 AM CHURCH SERVICE, Lighthouse Point Bring your own chair. On-site parking for the service. Rain location - Notre Dame Church 10:00 AM GATES OPEN 11:00 AM Pipes & Drums and Highland Dance, demonstration area 11:30 AM Lecture -Daniel Sizer's War: A Connecticut Yankee and 1760 Invasion of Canada, Nick Westbrook, Freight House 1:00 PM Inspection and Review of Troops 1:30 PM Water Battle begins 2:00 PM Land Battle begins followed by the surrender of the French Flag. 3:30 PM GATES CLOSED Other Drills, Demonstrations and Exhibits throughout the weekend. Parking for these events daytime activities will be at the bridge and port authority near the Ogdensburg/Prescott Bridge (GPS -Reading: N44 x 43.05 W75 x 27.00 306.00). Shuttle Buses will be running to Lighthouse Point from 9:30 to 5:30 Friday & Saturday and 9:30 to 3:30 on Sunday. Handicapped parking will be on site at Lighthouse Point
- 30 -Contact: Barbara O'Keefe President, Fort La Présentation Association Ogdensburg, New York 315-393-3315 315-323-2593 (cell)