Over 600 historical re-enactors, two tall ships and a long boat will be part of the spectacle that will mark the bicentennial of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm July 13-14.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Bob Irvine, a member of the Friends of Crysler’s Battlefield, the non-profit organization that has for 13 years hosted the Crysler’s Farm battle re-enactments, spoke about the coming event and the future needs of the Crysler’s Farm organization.
The Battle of Crysler’s Farm was one of the most important battles of the War of 1812, as it kept control of the upper lakes out of the hands of the Americans.
“There’s only one 200th,” said Irvine, who with fellow organizers have kept that in mind throughout their preparations for the weekend event.
The Friends are all volunteer and they are at arm’s length from Upper Canada Village in terms of funding, although they do work in partnership with them because the Battlefield land belongs to the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.
Looking to the future, beyond this weekend’s event, Irvine says that the Friends organization which has about 65 members, including only six or seven very active volunteers, is in desperate need of more volunteers.
“We need people to step up and keep this going,” said Irvine, explaining that the organization’s president, Robin Morris is expected to step down this year for health reasons.
Irvine is from Johnstown, and says that of those who belong to the organization, most are from farther afield than South Dundas, where the site is actually located. “We have only two people who are from the Morrisburg/Iroquois area,” he said.
Of this weekend’s event, Irvine added that re-enctors are coming from as far away as California to participate in the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. “That’s how big this is in the re-enactment community.”