HAIL TO THE DEFENDERS
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:25

Event moved from traditional Labor Day slot; extra day added

by Ben Boehl

Local Defenders Day festivities have traditionally been held on Labor Day weekend, but the organizers of the event pushed it back a week.
    They have also added a day to the celebration.    
    The free two-day event will now be held this Saturday and Sunday at Fort Howard Park. Saturday events are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday events start at 9:15 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.
    “The [Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission] came to us and wanted to coordinate a statewide event,” said Harry Young, chairman of the Defenders Day committtee.
    “North Point will kick off a 27-day celebration and they wanted us to go two days. We received a grant that will allow us to make it a two-day celebration.”
    Young added that having the event on Labor Day was a challenge, as Defenders Day was competing against the Maryland State Fair, the Baltimore Grand Prix and a holiday weekend where people tend to go on vacation.    
    Young is also happy that the Baltimore Ravens will be opening up their season on Thursday instead of Sunday, which he acknowledged would likely have kept a lot of people home on Sunday.
    “I made sure they weren’t playing on Sunday,” Young joked.
    Both Saturday and Sunday’s schedules have similar events at the same times. For example, the Sky’s The Limit theater company will perform  “Women’s Voices — The Battle of North Point Play” both days at 11 a.m. and on Saturday at 3 p.m. and on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
    “We will have a 12-by-24-foot stage for their performance,” Young added.
    Music of the period will be performed by David Hildebrand of the Colonial Music Institute both days at noon.
    Of course, there will be Battle of North Point re-enactments at 1:15 and 4 p.m on Saturday with a large Battle of North Point re-enactment on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. A welcoming ceremony with local dignitaries will take place on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
    Young said that Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will not only be in attendance, but will be participating in the re-enactment ceremony.    
    Young said that Baltimore County has been helpful in promoting Defenders Day.
    “We have gotten plenty of support from the Baltimore County Tourism and [director] Marjorie Hampson. The [bicentennial] committee has been very supportive too.”
    Defenders Day will have games and activities for kids, and there will be plenty of other demonstrations including blacksmiths and magicians.   
    A folding of an 1812 flag is scheduled to conclude the event at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday. Audience members will be asked to participate in the ceremony.
    “It takes about 100 people to get around [the flag] so we are asking for help if we are able to get a flag,” Young said.
    No pets are allowed at the event; parking will be available at the Fort Howard VA facility. Shuttle buses will be available to transport all visitors, with handicapped visitors getting first preference.
    Vendors will be on hand selling food, but lunches can be brought to the event.
    Young thanked the Fort Howard community for its hospitality.
    “They have been helpful for us. We appreciate the community,” Young said. “We haven’t heard any complaints.”
    With the Battle of North Point’s September 2014 bicentennial approaching, Young said, there will be more activities throughout the next 13 months.
    “We will be doing events for the whole year. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon,” Young noted.
    One of those events is the return of the popular program “Younger Experience with the War of 1812.”
    The program invites children 8 and older to find out if the land around their house was a part of the War of 1812.
    The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays starting Sept. 14.