POINT PLEASANT — This Friday, the Battle Days festival will make its return, continuing into Saturday and Sunday.
Battle Days will celebrate the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of Point Pleasant which occurred on Oct. 10, 1774. Events will take place at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park.
Events will kick off on Friday at 10 a.m. with the Mansion House Museum tours, crafts, encampments, and demonstrations. Many local school children are also treated to demonstrations on Friday, transporting them back in time to learn about colonial history. The museum will close at 4:30 p.m. Ending the evening will be the popular Lantern Tour starting at 7:30 p.m. at the park. During these tours, which last until 9:30 p.m., speakers will commemorate the important moments and persons of “The Battle.”
The festival will continue this Saturday, Oct. 6, at 8 a.m. at the park, again with tours of the Mansion House, Market Days, Chili Cook-off, crafts, activities, and entertainment sponsored by the Main Street Merchants. Also, taking place at The Coffee Grinder will be the 5K run/walk, “Battle Run.”
At 11 a.m., the Battle Days Parade will roll down Main Street. Line up is 10 a.m. near Main Street Baptist Church and travels Main Street to Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. Businesses, civic groups, bands, and queens are encouraged to enter the procession. This year’s theme is “Battle for…”
The Pipes and Drums of St. Andrews performs at 11:30 a.m. at the park. The elementary school chorus will start singing at noon, and at 1 p.m. several events will start, including: an Anne Bailey reenactor, a Chief Cornstalk reenactor, and Colonial Games (for kids); at 1:30 p.m. a Daniel Boone reenactor will be on hand along with a group playing era-correct music on dulcimers.
Starting at 2 p.m. Bill Hawkins, a guest author will be making a presentation and will do a meet-and-greet with the public from 2-4 p.m.; Anne Bailey will return at 2 p.m; Chief Cornstalk will return at 2:30 p.m.; and Daniel Boone again at 3 p.m. Then at 4 p.m. a performance by the Kootaga Indian Dancers.
At 6 p.m. there will be a Colonial Governor’s Reception at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for Sons of the American Revolution members only. Tickets are required.
From 7-9 p.m., Battle Days goers will be able visit the Newmans at the mansion house during “An Evening with the Newmans.”
The evening will end with the Colonial Ball at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the social hall from 8-10 p.m which is free for the public and open to anyone ages 13 and up. Colonial dress is encouraged but not required.
Ed Cromley, Battle Days committee member and a festival organizer, said those who attend the ball will be introduced to 18th century styled dances. He shared one dance of the evening is called “The Virginia Reel.” Cromley explained colonial dances are akin to square dances. He said in some of the dances individuals stay with their partner during the dance, in other dances, partners are traded off throughout. Cromley explained when some of these trade off dances were done, they were a way for single individuals to couple up with one another off the dance floor. He commented the 18th century was a social era.
Cromley said instructions will be given prior to the each dance and there will be a caller during the dance, giving instructions throughout. For this year, the ball will have a new caller and a new band from Columbus, Ohio he added.
As all of the events during the festival, Cromley said the colonial ball is an important heritage experience and a staple of the celebration. He explained during this event, festival goers will be able to participate, rather than just observe. Also, this type of event only happens once a year and is a unique night out. He shared people who he has invited to attend the ball throughout the years have enjoyed themselves.
Cromley shared he hopes everyone can attend and he would like to see more people in the community be in attendance. Members of the Daughters/Sons of the American Revolution will be in attendance and dressed in colonial wear, but individuals are welcome to attend in their contemporary clothing and enjoy the evening.
Sunday, Oct. 8, will feature an outdoor early colonial church service at 10 a.m. at the park.
Also on Sunday, a memorial service for the fallen soldiers at the Battle of Point Pleasant will start at 2 p.m. at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. The public is invited. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony during the memorial service.
The Mansion House Museum will be open from 1-4:30 p.m. that day as well.
Admission to the actual Battle Days festival at the park, is free.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.