This year’s exhibit at Memorial Hall will feature a private collection of 1812 War items owned by Lou Schultz which contains an authentic hand-written letter by Colonel William Jennings addressed to Lt. Col. Robert Pouge of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia. (Photo submitted)
This year’s exhibit at Memorial Hall will feature a private collection of 1812 War items owned by Lou Schultz which contains an authentic hand-written letter by Colonel William Jennings addressed to Lt. Col. Robert Pouge of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia. (Photo submitted)
FORT JENNINGS —The Village of Fort Jennings will celebrate Fort Fest on Friday and Saturday, which is a one-of-a-kind festival themed “A Salute to Our Military.” Throughout the weekend, the celebration will honor the military history of Fort Jennings as an outpost in the War of 1812 featuring a variety of military exhibits.

Among the many events slated for Friday, Huey 369 helicopter flights will take off from the park at noon and a motorcade and helicopter escort will bring the Eyes of Freedom display honoring fallen soldiers of the Lima Company in Afghanistan at 3 p.m.

Other events beginning in the latter part of the afternoon include the military vehicle procession uptown, MIA/POW Exhibit at the fire station, Memorial Hall Museum, Legion steak and shrimp dinner, car show, DJ entertainment at the big tent, Kids Bounce House, Barrels & Brews wine tasting and Park Giveaway.

Friday evening events include an 1812 Reenactment at the park at 8:30 p.m. and a performance by Nashville Crush starting at 9 p.m. under the big tent uptown.

On Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., a morning/day camp called Camp 1812, run by War of 1812 re-enactors, begins for students entering kindergarten up to the sixth grade and their parents and/or grandparents. Participants will have hands-on participation in period arts, crafts and games, living history military and village life, Native American warfare and cultural presentations, drill with militia, tomahawk throw and much more.

After the Morning Colors and Encampment opening at the park at 8 a.m., a War of 1812 camp comes alive with period minstrels, artisans, vendors, demonstrators and Indian story tellers.

Throughout the day Saturday, there will be many events including a craft show under the big tent, Poker Run, Gun Raffle, Veterans’ Mass, BBQ Chicken dinners and duck races.

At 1 p.m., the Fort Jennings Volunteer Fire Department will hold a Water Ball Challenge for teams with five members including firefighters and open classes. Open class teams must have one firefighter on their team and a firefighter can be provided upon request. Registration begins at noon and the cost is $20 per team.

The Fort Fest Parade kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with the US Naval Sea Cadets Commodore Perry Division out of Toledo and Firelands Division from Port Clinton as color guard leading the parade to the Fort Memorial site.

A new addition to the line up is the Firsthounds, a Vietnam War re-enactment group who will be performing with other 1812 re-enactors at 3:30 p.m. in the park.

Musket fire and cannons light up the river bank at twilight on both days.

A moving military exhibit at Memorial Hall features artifacts from 1812 through Operation Iraqi Freedom, with loaned items from local families. This year’s exhibit will feature a private collection of 1812 War items owned by Lou Schultz which contains an authentic hand-written letter by Col. William Jennings addressed to Lt. Col. Robert Pouge of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia.

After touring the military exhibit, horse-drawn history tours leaving from outside the Hall will be available from 6-8 p.m.

Huey flights, the Eyes of Freedom and MIA/POW displays and the Memorial Hall Museum will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit fortjenningspark.com.