De­fend­ers Day fes­tiv­i­ties cel­e­brate lo­cal his­tory

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By MIA MCCASLIN mm­c­caslin@ches­pub.com

On Satur­day, Sept. 2, Fort Howard Park will be buzzing with De­fend­ers Day cel­e­bra­tions.

In 1814, the suc­cess­ful de­fense of Baltimore by the lo­cal mili­tia dur­ing the war of 1812 was a turn­ing point in in Amer­i­can his­tory.

Ac­cord­ing to Rose Ben­ton of the Dun­dalk-Pat­ap­sco Neck His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, “three weeks ear­lier, the Bri­tish had taken

Wash­ing­ton D.C. and burned most of it” leav­ing Baltimore as the clos­est port city to the cap­i­tal.

Amer­i­can forces sta­tioned lo­cally were a last stand against the Red­coats, but the Amer­i­cans man­aged to kill the in­vad­ing com­man­der and de­mor­al­ize the force. Just days after this failed at­tack, the Bri­tish bom­barded Fort McHenry and again failed, a bat­tle which Fran­cis Scott Key was in­spired to im­mor­tal­ize by writ­ing the Star-Span­gled Ban­ner.

The 1814 bat­tle is memo­ri­al­ized in the re­gion as “De­fend­ers Day.”

To cel­e­brate this splen­did feat, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Satur­day, Sept. 2, Fort Howard Park will step back in time as it be­comes host to reen­act­ments of the events as well as of the pe­riod, in ad­di­tion to some more mod­ern ameni­ties such as food trucks.

Bat­tle reen­act­ments and pe­riod en­ter­tain­ment will be scat­tered through­out the day’s cel­e­bra­tion.

As in years past, the day will cul­mi­nate with the fold­ing of a replica of an 1812 flag. Au­di­ence mem­bers are asked to par­tic­i­pate in the cer­e­mony, since it takes about 100 vol­un­teers to fold the 43-foot flag. The flag-fold­ing gen­er­ally is fol­lowed by the sounds of can­nons bom­bard­ing the area.

There are plenty of other demon­stra­tions in­clud­ing black­smiths and ma­gi­cians, by vol­un­teers in pe­riod cos­tumes,

De­fend­ers Day 2016 will be cel­e­brated at Fort Howard Park on Sept. 2.

PHOTO BY BRAD KRONER

De­fend­ers Day, an an­nual com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Bat­tle of North Point, draws mas­sive crowds, who at­tend bat­tle reen­act­ments and other ac­tiv­i­ties at Fort Howard Park.

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