Bicentennial of Battle of the Thames looms

Sep 18 • Feature Story, Local NewsNo Comments on Bicentennial of Battle of the Thames looms

 

Artist Alex McKay showcases a treaty canoe, one of which will be part of the flotilla participating in the Battle of the Thames re-enactment.

Artist Alex McKay showcases a treaty canoe, one of which will be part of the flotilla participating in the Battle of the Thames re-enactment.

Planners of the bicentennial of the Battle of the Thames commemoration can barely contain their excitement when they talk about the event.

And who can blame them?

On Oct. 5, as many as 50,000 people could invade the site of the famous 1813 fight that left native chief and war hero Tecumseh dead and the British defeated.

Volunteer Dave Welton said the commemoration is huge in the minds of re-enactors, of which an expected 700 will be in the field that day – the same field where the battle took place exactly two centuries ago.

“It’s 200 years ago to the day. It’s on the actual battleground,” he said. “That stuff is very significant to historical re-enactors. You get excited.”

And leading the way is Mark Dickerson, president of the Battle of the Thames committee.

Dickerson, who showed up at a press conference Sept. 18 in full British Army apparel, is indeed excited.

“It’s hard to predict how many will come Oct. 5, but there’s been a buzz about this event,” he said.

Dickerson said the Battle of the Thames site will take up more than a mile of real estate along Longwoods Road, which will be closed off for the day Oct. 5.

The commitee has received government support, from all three levels.

Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy said the effort from organizers is staggering.

“The amount of work that’s gone into this is incredible,” he said.

There is plenty going on leading up to Oct. 5, from theatre to archeological digs to a seven-day world unity gathering of first nations.

Marion Johnson, playwright of “Like a Hero Going Home,” a play about Tecumseh, is proud to see her work part of a dinner theatre that will take place at Thamesville United Church Sept. 29. She said she worked with a Chippewa elder to develop the script and the play has a mix of first nation and traditional actors.

“It’s a very tragic story but the play also emphasizes the greatness of the man,” she said.

For a full list of events, please go to www.battleofthethames.ca and click on “Bicentennial Events in Chatham-Kent.”

For the full story, wait for the Sept. 26 edition of The Chatham Voice.

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