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Rochester Hills, Shelby Township

June 19, 2013

Travel back in time at Stony Creek Metropark’s War in the Wilderness

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Re-enactors portraying British troops open fire during a French and Indian War battle at Stony Creek Metropark in 2011. The War in the Wilderness program returns to the park June 22-23.

ROCHESTER HILLS — One of the largest Midwest encampments of French and Indian War re-enactors will grace the shores of Stony Creek Metropark June 22-23, and the public is invited to witness aspects of the way life was in the 18th century.

Mike Lyons, district park superintendent for the eastern district — including Lake St. Clair, Stony Creek and Wolcott Mill metroparks — said the two-day encampment, called War in the Wilderness, will be a weekend full of living history. 

“This has been a returning event that’s been going on at Stony Creek for a number of years,” Lyons said. “It’s a unique event that is historical and educational, which is what we like to do in the metroparks. It gets the family out to witness something that they can learn from that took place in the past.”

Crowds won’t want to miss the battles — featuring historical re-enactors representing British and French military, and Woodland Indians of the 1750s and 1760s — at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, although Lyons said many other events and activities are planned throughout each day.

“Saturday, the battle is attack the French fort, and then on Sunday, it’s attack the British fort,” he said. “A few years ago, we got lumber and built a fort that we construct and put out there on the site that they use for the battles, which is a nice addition.”

Visitors will also be able to tour military camps, a Woodland Indian village, and shop at historical sutlers or vendors for all things 18th century from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Event organizer Brent Kemmer — a historic writer, educator and commander of British forces — said the event allows people to witness the historic battles that took place during the French and Indian War.

“Let your mind wander and watch the intense skirmishing as the armies attack our reproduction fortification. You have a unique experience, being able to see what a fortified outpost of the 18th century looked like. These fortifications were sprinkled all through the east and what we now call Michigan and the Midwestern United States. Come and watch us bring your history alive,” he said in a statement.

The event is free with park admission, which costs $25 annually for regular admission, $15 annually for seniors or $5 daily.

“It’s good for all age groups — parents bring their children out. It’s a great family event,” Lyons said. “People can come out, walk around the camps all day long and interact with the re-enactors, too.”

For more information about the event, contact Stony Creek Metropark at (586) 781-4242.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.