FORT JENNINGS — This southwest Putnam County city — based alongside the Auglaize River on the positioning of a Struggle of 1812 fort — will once more have a good time its historical past this weekend with an occasion that has wider attraction.
Interrupted by the coronavirus state of affairs in 2020, “Fort Fest” is again on the city’s 19-acre park subsequent to the Auglaize River and State Route 189 with a variety of occasions. The general public might be admitted at no cost.
No battles within the Struggle of 1812 — a contest pitting the USA in opposition to Nice Britain and her Tecumseh-led Indian confederacy allies — have been truly fought in Fort Jennings.
However like Fort Winchester in Defiance and Fort Amanda in Allen County, Fort Jennings served as a key cog within the U.S. provide chain to Fort Meigs on the Maumee River the place two battles have been fought in 1813.
The three-day Fort Fest has a bit of one thing for everybody, however it’s the historical past that preceded the city’s founding and incorporation in 1881 that continues to play a major a part of the festivities.
For instance, in deference to the city’s Struggle of 1812 heritage, a number of re-enactor demonstrations are scheduled.
This consists of Struggle of 1812 encampments every day in addition to simulated skirmishes replete with flintlocks and canons. These are deliberate at 8:30 p.m. Friday and three:30 p.m. Saturday.
Some 96 Struggle of 1812 re-enactors are registered for the weekend, based on Amy Ricker, occasion organizer and member of the Fort Jennings Historic Society.
In commemoration of the Indians’ position within the Struggle of 1812 and their presence in northwest Ohio, the weekend will embody a Native American music and story program at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Different historic/navy themes might be on show this weekend as nicely.
These embody a mini Vietnam Wall show, Ohio POW/MIA show, Chilly Struggle demonstrations, a Vietnam Struggle re-enactment at 4 p.m. Saturday and set up of a historic marker commemorating a World Struggle II-era navy aircraft crash in Putnam County (see associated story).
However that’s only a sampling of occasions.
In line with Ricker, troopers might be decked out in interval gear from the Struggle of 1812, the Civil Struggle, World Struggle I, World Struggle II, the Chilly Struggle and the Vietnam Struggle. And Huey helicopter flights might be accessible to the general public for a membership price of $100 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Apart from the historic/navy theme, Fort Fest additionally consists of stay music, a automotive present, meals, duck races (with actual geese), prize giveaways, wine tasting and actions for youths.
The music will embody Kyle Mercer and Tim Baumgartner, each nation artists with Nashville, Tenn. publicity.
The above occasions are actually held yearly, however that was not the unique intent.
Fort Fest started in 2012 — to commemorate the 2 hundredth anniversary of Fort Jennings being constructed beneath the supervision of Col. William Jennings — as a one-time occasion. However like-minded fans agreed that it ought to develop into an annual factor, based on Ricker.
She stated the bicentennial took 2-3 years to plan, and after it was held, “a number of of us have been sitting round and chatting at any person’s home and stated, ‘that is too good to not do it once more.'”
Ricker is not positive how many individuals attend annually. With no admission cost, that is laborious to say, she indicated, however it now has develop into a “vacation spot” for some.
When it began, Ricker defined, Fort Fest was attended largely by locals, however “now we have develop into a vacation spot. We have now folks that journey from the tri-state space and some individuals come from Texas.”
Sponsors have helped make the weekend occasion what it’s, based on Ricker.
‘We have now lots of beneficiant sponsors that assist us pay for the navy shows,” she stated.