Old Sturbridge Village 'Redcoats & Rebels' Event Aug. 3-4 Celebrates 10 Years
New England's largest reenactment attracts thousands
Kids get free admission in August
The sights, sounds, and spirit of the Revolutionary War will come alive at Old Sturbridge Village Aug. 3-4 as nearly 7,000 visitors and 1,000 historic reenactors gather for the 10th anniversary of the Village's Redcoats & Rebels event. Now the largest military reenactment in New England, the two-day event features realistic mock battles and skirmishes between the Colonial and British troops and their allies. Visitors can also see cannon and musket demonstrations, marching and drilling, fife and drum music, and they can see what life was really like for the soldiers in camp.
Kids get free admission to Old Sturbridge Village during August, and adult visitors can attend both days of Redcoats & Rebels for the price of one because OSV offers a free return visit within 10 days. Admission also includes free parking and extended evening hours on Saturday August 3, when the Village stays open until 8:00 p.m. for "Twilight Encampment" to give visitors a change to mingle and talk with soldiers around their campfires. Also included is a 6:00 p.m. Sat. Aug. 3 performance of "Love Letters: An Evening with John & Abigail Adams" with actors Tom Macy and Pat Bridgeman.
Tours will be offered of the American and British camps throughout the weekend, and other activities include and 18th-century fashion show, interactive 18th-century dances and "base ball" games. Military physicians will talk about battlefield medicine, "Ladies of Refined Taste" will present a look at period fashions, including "A Sneak Peek at 18th-century Foundations," and Battlegroup Boston will present interactive miniature war gaming on Sat., Aug. 3. For all times and details: www.osv.org; 800-SEE-1830.
Now considered a premier event in the reenactment community Redcoats & Rebels is also a visitor favorite because the Village is filled with so much activity and so many people in historic costumes that it really seems to come alive as an authentic New England town of the time period.
According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, with 200 acres, no street lights, no traffic noise and other modern distractions, the Village is a perfect setting for a large reenactment. And the "soldiers" agree – many units make the OSV event an annual tradition.
"We enjoy the feel of being in an early American Village setting, which gives us a better appreciation of the life and times of the common soldiers and civilians of the 18th century," notes David Solek of Monroe, Conn., a reenactor with Butler's Rangers.
"Having 1,000 reenactors in one place is an awesome site, especially during the battles," says Bill Brimer of the Billerica Minutemen, who adds that soldiers also teach visitors about everyday camp life beyond the battlefield. "Our unit demonstrates the fine art of soap making to the many thousands of visitors who attend this event. We also demonstrate cooking, baking, and making candles, brooms, musket balls, buttons, and bowls out of gourds."
During OSV's Redcoats & Rebels weekend, British units and their allies pitch their tents on the Common, and the Colonial troops and allies are billeted throughout the countryside. For visitors, a walk through the Village becomes a walk through Revolutionary War history as they can talk one-on-one with the reenactors and learn about each military unit's role in the conflict.
Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country. The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. OSV offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. For times and details of all OSV activities visit: www.osv.org or call 1-800-SEE-1830.