Dundalk’s defenders remembered at weekend event
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 12:32

photo by Roland Dorsey

by Ben Boehl

For the first time in its history, the local Defenders Day celebration became a two-day event. Defenders Day is usually marked on Labor Day Saturday, but this year’s event was pushed back a week when the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission sought to coordinate a statewide event and asked the group to have the event after Labor Day.
    Harry Young, chairman of the Defenders Day committee, said the event usually draws about 5,000 people during the one-day event on Labor Day weekend. This year’s two-day festivities, he said, drew about 4,500 combined for both days.
    “The weather was good for both days and we had more people on Sunday than Saturday,” Young said. “We are happy that this is a family event where parents can bring their kids.”
    Fran Taylor, Chairman of the Baltimore County War of 1812 Bicentennial advisory group, said he noticed more vendors on the first day but thought there was a good crowd overall, considering that there are so many events this time of the year.
    “There is so much going on in the fall, and so much competition with cookouts, flea markets and picnics, so [Harry Young] should be proud of his turnout,” Taylor said.
    The Defenders Day committee will meet to discuss the future of the event, but Young said it will most likely remain a two-day event next year and will take place the weekend after Labor Day.
    “We will be leading off the state celebration in 2014,” Young said.
    This Defenders Day had another first, as the Sky’s The Limit theater company performed “Women’s Voices — The Battle of North Point Play” four times during the two-day event.
    Taylor said he saw all of the performances and that the crowd was impressed.
    “Our stand was right by the stage for all four performances, and I could tell you that everyone loved their performance,” Taylor added.
    Most years, Young and the Defenders Day committee are able to get reenactors from other states to come down for the re-enactments.
    This year Young was able to get Canadian actors at Defenders Day too. He pointed out that Canada was also involved in the War of 1812 when American and British forces fought along The Great Lakes and the Canadian frontier in 1813.
    “I thought the Canadians gave a different perspective of the bombardment,” Young said.
    Local dignitaries were out in force. All three local state delegates, Joseph “Sonny” Minnick, John Olszewski Jr. and Michael Weir Jr., along with state Sen. Norman Stone, came out to Defenders Day.
    They were joined by Baltimore County Sheriff R. Jay Fisher, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who even donned a general’s uniform.
    “Baltimore County has been very supportive,” Young said.
    According to Young, the event will return to Fort Howard.
    With North Point State Battlefield, located at the empty field at the intersection of North Point and Trappe roads, scheduled to get upgrades, there has been talk that a future Defenders Day event could take place at that site.
    Young said that the site is too small and there would not be enough parking for the Defenders Day crowds.
    “Fort Howard has historical significance, as that is where the British landed,” Young said.


North Point heroes remembered at Defenders Day

From top to bottom: As visitors entered into Fort Howard Park, they were greeted with this display of American flags. The re-enactments were intense and gunpowder filled the air. That did not stop spectators from navigating through the smoke to get their best photos of those battles.
photos by Ben Boehl

 from top to bottom: The Aisquith’s Sharp Shooters prepare for battle. Phil Gilson of Clayton Bottles shows off his antiques. The Frederick County Militia made the drive to Fort Howard from Western Maryland . Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society’s own Buzz Chriest was dressed as a commander for the American Forces.
 photos by Roland Dorsey

From top to bottom : The 5th Maryland Regiment - Baltimore United Volunteers is ready for the British forces. There was a modern day flyover. Lt. Thomas William Battery, 2nd Division, Virginia Militia served for the American Forces. Smoke filled the air after shots were fired. Audience members were needed to fold a 44-foot American flag. Members of the British Forces folded their flag and went home after the defeat. Spectators were able to get up close and personal during the reenactments, but some covered their ears during the loud sounds.
photos by Roland Dorsey