The annual Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration will return this weekend.
The three-day event — to be held Friday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Sept. 11 — is marking its 14th year with Battle of Plattsburgh-related events having already begun including musical performances, reenactements and dedications. Several performances have already been held, including performances by Patrick Fitzsimmons and Woods Tea Company at Trinity Episcopal Church and the Will Patton Ensemble at Clinton Community College’s Stafford Theater.
The performances will continue through the weekend, including acts such as the U.S. Navy Band Northeast’s Dixieland Group; Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Band of Cobourg, Ont.; the Too Tall String Band; Town Meeting; and many others.
“We are pleased to provide a series of top quality acts,” said Keith Lunn, chairman of the entertainment committee. “Many are familiar to area listeners, but several are new to our event and are sure to impress their audiences.”
The commemoration weekend’s events will kick off Friday with the dedication of a memorial monument honoring the U.S.S. Saratoga, a 36-gun frigate led by Master Commandant Thomas MacDonough, that is famous for being the largest warship to sail Lake Champlain. The dedication will take place at Plattsburgh Barracks Veterans Park located on the PARC Oval, at 10 a.m.
Other events throughout the day Friday include self-guided tours of MacDonough Monument from 4 to 8 p.m., the Eliza Mooers Historic District Walking Tour at 5 p.m.; and a juggling performance at Trinity Park by Gratto Family Jugglers and Stilt Walkers, among other acts.
Fireworks will wrap up the day’s festivities at 9:30 p.m. near MacDonough Monument.
On Saturday, Sept. 10, the day will start out with the 7th annual Cannonball Fun Run — a 5k and 10k run and one-mile walk/run — beginning at 9 a.m. Other events include a display of entries in the annual Plucky Rooster Contest, a stamp cancellation by the Boys Scouts of America, artillery demonstration at the Kent-Delord House Museum, battle reenactment at Beekmantown Town Hall, Battle of Plattsburgh Challenge Cup bateau race at Champlain Monument, Roducky Derby, Rotary Bed Races, and the Macomb Ball.
The highly-anticipated Battle of Plattsburgh Parade will start from Elks Lodge 621 on Cumberland Avenue at 1 p.m. and feature a theme this year of "A Salute to the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont" in honor of the Vermont volunteers who came to Plattsburgh’s aid during the September 1814 engagement.
Grand Marshal of this year’s parade will be Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, Adjutant General of Vermont and Commander of the Vermont Army and Air Force Guard.
"We are hoping several organizations will work on floats to showcase the vast history in the Champlain Valley,” said parade co-chair Vicki Giroux. "We have a rich history here and we look forward to capturing the imagination of many organizations."
More than 90 units are expected to take part with many new participants, including musical performances by the U.S. Navy Band Northeast Dixieland Group, Her Majesty's Royal Marine Band of Cobourg, Ontario; the Peru High School Marching Band; the Police Pipes and Drums of Plattsburgh; the Spirit of Scotland Pipes and Drums; the Seth Warner Fife and Drum Corps and the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps.
Parade co-chair Phil Rice said kids should consider decorating a bike or wagon to be in the parade.
“It is a wonderful way to inspire young folks about the area’s vast history,” said Rice.
Though time is running out before the parade, there is still availability to enter. However, the earlier people enter, the better, said parade co-chair Diane Brockway.
"It is really important that people register so we can be well organized in advance of Sept. 10,” said Brockway. “At best, getting a parade lined up and moving on time is hectic. Early registration is a big help.”
On Sunday, craft demonstrations, kids games, and other activities will round out the day, including an 1814 Battle Re-enactment at the Champlain Monument narrated by Keith Herkalo at 1 p.m. The day will also include an annual Soup Cook-off hosted by the National Alliance for Mental Illness of the Champlain Valley from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on City Hall Place.
New this year will be the “Children’s Old-Time Village Fair” located on the MacDonough Monument grounds, featuring storytelling, horseback rides, arts and crafts, and an old-time country store” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“That’s new. There’s been a lot of work that’s gone into that with over 17 different activities for kids,” said VanCour.
Though there are many “entertaining” activities happening throughout the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Weekend, VanCour said he doesn’t want people to lose sight of the reason for the event.
“We want people to realize it’s not a celebration of the Battle of Plattsburgh, but it’s more of a commemoration designed to be informative as to the part this area played in history,” said VanCour. “But, we combine entertainment with education so people have a good time.”
Admission buttons — which give people access to all concerts and events — are available for $10 at Corner-Stone Book-Shop, North Country Co-op, BOPA Museum, Kent Delord House, Aubuchon Hardware, Rulfs’ Orchard, Key Banks, NBT Bank, Adirondack Bank, and Studley’s Printing. The button was designed by Kelsey Gilmore of Mooers Elementary School.
For more information about this weekend’s events, visit www.battleofplattsburgh.org. Those interested in entering the parade may contact the parade committee at 593-5707 or 562-400, ext. 165, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.