Great support made this ball a memorable one

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Sir: Coverage of the Battle of the Thames commemoration held on Oct. 5 was excellent. Readers saw various interviews with re-enactors, visitors, and participants as well as photos that really captured the spirit of the event.

In addition to the signature event of the Battle of the Thames, there was also another bicentennial event that day called The Ball at the Forkes. This ball could only come together with the help of many individuals and sponsors whom I would like to take this opportunity to thank for their assistance.

A short description of the ball is included in this letter for those in the community who were not able to attend and to highlight some of the main participants.

Three hundred and fifty guests arrived at the Chatham Armoury and walked through an arbour decorated with red, white and blue accents. The Drums: Crown Forces 1812 played while hors d’oeurves were served. The Weengushk Drummers and Singers demonstrated beautiful and intricate native dancing. Guests were invited to join them in their final number as they danced in and around the tables.

David Mercer from the Essex-Kent Scottish piped in the dignitaries who included the Venerable Archdeacon Paul Millward, MP Dave Van Kesteren, MPP Rick Nicholls, British Forces representative Mark Dickerson, American Forces representative Thom Cole, from Alabama, followed by the Union Jack and the 1812 American flag.

Brian Machado from Four Diamond Catering researched what foods would have been served at a regency gala and provided a wonderful period appropriate dinner. Toasts were given to the Queen, the Office of the President of the United States, and the Combatant Fallen.

Recognition was given to various individuals and groups that made the Battle of the Thames and the Ball at the Forkes possible including the early work of the Heritage Days committee.

Dance Mistress Cathy Stephens, accompanied by period musicians Childgrove opened the dance floor with the Grand March. There were so many people on the floor that she had half the dancers sit down until the first group danced and then the second group took to the floor.

More than 90% of the guests were in period attire. The dance floor was always full as dancers followed the instructions of the dance mistress. Dances during this time were social events, as individual dancers would move around the circle or set, meeting new dancers at every turn.

An evening buffet was served, again featuring period food. A commemorative cake was cut by representatives from the British and the American forces.

Volunteers such as the Jane Austen Society, along with committee members Anita Brinkman and Linda Corrente helped to make it a success. We are also grateful for the able direction of David Wesley who was the project manager for all the Battle of the Thames Bicentennial events.

With heartfelt appreciation to all who made The Ball at the Forkes a very successful, once in a lifetime experience.

Linda Henderson

Chair,

The Ball at the Forkes

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