Colonial Michilimackinac, a colonial fort and fur trading village on the shore of Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City, will host several events in the coming days in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Mackinac State Historic Parks.
“These three events allow us to share some new and exciting elements of Michilimackinac with visitors, including things like the Fire at Night that we’ve never done before,” said Craig Wilson, Curator of History for Mackinac State Historic Parks. “Even if someone has visited in the past, I would invite them to come back and see what’s new, not just with these special programs but with our regular activities and exhibits.”
First, on Thursday, July 9, Michilimackinac will host a Fire at Night, allowing guests to see Michilimackinac’s weapons fired as the sun sets. Staff, dressed as British soldiers, will fire a wall gun, mortar and cannon on the beach with the magnificent Mackinac Bridge as the backdrop. Guests can enter through the secondary entrance on Straits Avenue at 9:00 p.m., and the program will start at 9:30 p.m. This is a free event.
Michilimackinac at Work: Labor and Trades weekend takes place July 11-12 during regular hours at Colonial Michilimackinac. Michilimackinac was a hardworking community in the 18th century. Voyageurs, blacksmiths, laundresses, clerks, and soldiers all plied their trades at the fort, employing both skilled and unskilled labor. Join the interpretive staff as they demonstrate a variety of tasks that made up the world of work at Michilimackinac in the 18th century.
Regular admission to Colonial Michilimackinac includes all the special events included with the themed weekend. The schedule for the weekend includes:
- 9:30 a.m. – Musket Demonstration
- 10:00 a.m. – ‘For Want of a Smith:’ Blacksmithing at Michilimackinac Program
- 11:00 a.m. – Soap and Water: Laundresses at Work Program
- 12:00 p.m. – Musket Demonstration and Soldier’s Duties Program
- 1:00 p.m. – People of the Fur Trade Program
- 2:00 p.m. – At Work at Michilimackinac: Enslaved and Domestic Labor Program
- 3:00 p.m. – Artillery Drill
- 4:00 p.m. – ‘For Want of a Smith:’ Blacksmithing at Michilimackinac Program
- 5:00 p.m. – ‘She Was Very Generally Respected:’ Women at Michilimackinac Program
- 6:00 p.m. – People of the Fur Trade Program
- 6:30 p.m. – Musket Demonstration
Finally, on Wednesday, July 15, Michilimackinac will be host to its second “Hidden Histories” evening. Focusing on marriage and the British army, this program will explore the complexities of love, marriage, and long-distance relationships in the British military of the 18th century. The entrance for this event will be at the secondary entrance on Straits Avenue, and this is a free event.
Appropriate social distancing will take place during all events, and all guests are expected to wear masks inside buildings and when social distancing is impossible.
Mackinac State Historic Parks, a family of living history museums and parks in northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, is an agency within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its sites—which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums—include Fort Mackinac, the Biddle House, The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, Historic Downtown Mackinac, and Mackinac Island State Park on Mackinac Island, and Colonial Michilimackinac, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park and Michilimackinac State Park in Mackinaw City. Mackinac State Historic Parks is governed by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, established in 1895 to protect, preserve and present the parks’ rich historic and natural resources for the education and recreation of future generations. Visitor information is available at (231) 436-4100 or on the web at www.mackinacparks.com.