This past weekend, the 30th annual Mississinewa War of 1812 festival took place near the original battlefield in La Fontaine, Indiana.
The War of 1812 was fought between the Americans, the British and the Native Americans. The Americans and Native Americans fought over land. The Battle of Mississinewa itself marked the first offensive victory for the Americans.
The reenactment was started by Martin Lake in 1988 and has been the largest War of 1812 living museum for decades.
“I lived here my whole life,” Lake said. “I wanted to do something for the community.”
The event has grown significantly since its conception. Lake claims that it was built on hard work and dedication.
“In the early years I traveled 3,000 miles throughout the Midwest and Canada advertising the event,” he said. “We didn’t really get to this size until about 1995.”
Across an open field, tents were set up as if it was the early 19th century with actors and actresses answering questions.
Aside from those in the tents, there were also a number of professionals dressed up as Native Americans, as well as British and American soldiers roaming around, demonstrating what daily life looked like during that time.
The main attraction for many was the reenactment where soldiers lined up as cannons were fired and shot at each other with muskets, rifles, cannons and bows and arrows as bagpipes were played in the background. As the battle was taking place, there were announcers explaining the history of the battle and the intricacies of it.
Around 1,000 people were hired to reenact the events along with about 200 local volunteers.
With the amount of paid actors, Lake said that the event is not a big source of revenue for him or his workers, but rather a hobby. The extra money made during the event goes back to the community.
Next year’s event is scheduled for October 12-14.
Photos taken by Brian Tew