posts tagged with 'reenactment'

Patriots days

In the first half of April we celebrated nine days of Patriots Day festivities in Bedford and Lexington. Things kicked off here in Bedford with the pole capping parade; I've written before how cool it is that we get all the minute companies to start the season, and this year was no exception.

minuteman firing a volley in the Pole Capping parade

Patriots Day starts with a bang!

It wasn't all guns and aggression; there was lots of lovely fife and drum music too, and a handful of colonial women and children.

colonial women and girls walking in the parade

rounding out the picture of Colonial life

The weather was beautiful—clear and mild—so for the first time ever we actually stayed for the pole capping itself. We were there with friends, and all the kids endured the politicians' speeches without complaint (it helped that we gave them snacks). Our friend Andrew, who moved to town a couple years ago, said it was the most Bedford thing he'd ever experienced. It was especially fun cheering for our neighbor Samantha, who won an award as the most notable high school senior and had to sit up front looking respectable through all the speechifying. Then they put the hat on the pole.

the lucky minuteman atop the pole waving his liberty cap

made it!

The following Saturday was again warm and beautiful, perfect weather for cycling to Lexington to watch the big reenactment at Tower Park. I take pictures of it every year and they're all about the same, but it's such an experience I couldn't resist yet another round.

redcoats forming up in a haze of gun smoke

the fog of war

One difference this year is that, having biked, we were in position to watch the proceedings from the back side. That was great for the first part of the battle, but less optimal as the fighting moved east with a swamp between us and the action. I followed some other people into the woods to see what we could see, but the minutemen yelled at us so we had to go back. Unlike the more famous reenactment in Lexington Center, though, this one is big enough that there's always something to see.

minutemen in the woods

like watching from backstage

The weather was looking iffy for Monday's parade, the highlight of the week's festivities. It was cancelled last year due to rain, so we were really hoping not to miss it again. Morning rain led us to cancel our own plans for a pre-parade picnic in Lexington, but things looked fine for the parade itself at 2:00 so at quarter to one we gathered up our three-family group of cyclists and headed out. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves until my mom called me ten minutes into the ride to let us know that, due to more rain in the forecast, the parade start had been moved up to 1:15. Yikes!

So we hurried. Zion was feeling week (he had skipped Saturday's ride because of sickness) so I carried him and his bike, but all the other kids (and adults) did great, and we made it the five miles up the hill in just 28 minutes—in plenty of time to find a good spot along the strangely empty parade route, and fortify ourselves after all our hard work with fried dough and Italian ice. We're always glad to be out for a parade.

Lijah smiling waiting for the parade

happy to be there!

Besides the reenactors and bands—and there were some fine bands this year—the parade highlights Lexington's increasingly diverse cultural makeup. We all liked getting up close and personal with this dragon.

a chinese dragon surprising the boys at the parade

roar

We were talking smack about the Shriners as their first units rolled by, but then we had to take it all back when the mini-big rigs—pretty great themselves—were followed up by a trio of motorized tricycles—basically powered big wheels. Two of them could drift and the third could turn on two wheels. Very exciting.

After the parade was exciting too. The decision to start the parade early was an inspired one, because just as the last unit went by our spot the sky turned dark, and within five minutes the first drops were falling (the parade still had close to a mile to go past us, so sorry to those folks!). We were prepared, and got everything packed up and everyone into raincoats in record time.

Lijah bundeled up in the cargo bike, Harvey on his bike in a raincoat

good thing we're tough!

Then the ride home featured weather that ranged from drizzle to torrential downpour. It was actually pretty great. I consider Patriots Day to have been celebrated.

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Happy Patriots

Today is Patriots Day, which means that people in Massachusetts (and Maine!) get one extra day to do their taxes. And... that's about it, since torrential rain means all today's festivities have been cancelled. Never mind; we had a good dose of historical pageantry Saturday afternoon, when we took in the big reenactment at Tower Park.

reenactors wreathed in gunsmoke in the woods

the fog of battle

After a beautiful sunny morning Saturday the weather turned overcast and wintery cold by afternoon. We were well-bundled in preparation for the late-afternoon event—hats, coats, even blankets—so we didn't mind the cold too much, but the gloomy sky made the photography trickier. I did get the one good shot that I put at the end of yesterday's post, but that was about it—if you want to see what it would have looked like in better weather, there are some photos from last time we went.

There were horses then; I was disappointed that nobody brought theirs this time. But there were plenty of guns and fine outfits, and a couple of cannons that made lots of noise. Too much for some: Leah was made to keep her hands over Lijah's ears the whole time (doesn't he have his own hands?!). We saw lots of friends, some that we planned to meet and others that we hadn't seen in years (or ever for some of us). It isn't actually clear what happened in the battle, but that doesn't matter for our purposes. There were historical details to observe! And a chance to get out all together as a family, something that's rare these days. Yay holidays! Happy Patriots Day

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Patriots Day weekend

a volley from the militia

After being disappointed in our Patriots Day celebrations last year, Harvey, Zion, and I very much enjoyed the reenactment at Tower Park yesterday: a full hour of non-stop volley firing and maneuvering! And we're very much looking forward to the parade tomorrow. Patriots Day is great!

I hadn't been to Tower Park for the show since back in 2003—my photo library proves it, even if we weren't blogging back then. It's a great event: much more involved than the more famous Monday morning affair on Lexington Green, it has marching and counter-marching, skirmishing and outflanking, galloping horses, and even cannons! And it's nowhere near as crowded, so we were able to find a good spot near where the action began (and even save places for our friends), then move to another spot with great visibility for the ending part of the battle. Plus, it was at 4:00 pm rather than 5:00 am! A win all around, and the kids getting to collect spent paper cartridges afterwards was just a bonus.

Here are some more pictures of the affair:

a line of militiamen just by us firing down the hill

Regulars kneeling, reloading after a volley

closeup: three members of the 4th light infantry

looking up at a regular officer on a brown horse, just by us

the regulars firing a final volley, after the battle was really over

a long line of victorious militiamen shouldering arms

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