The Civil War is coming early to Fayette this year.
The fifth annual Thistle Ridge Civil War Encampment and Reënactment moves from the summer schedule to May 16 and 17. The change was made to accommodate programming opportunities for school age children and their families.
Tom Spiess, the local event advocate, said the move was made to promote the living history event through the schools and to eliminate potential conflicts with families’ summer vacation schedules.
Spiess noted that the original vision for the event has changed considerably since its inception in 2004.
At that time, representatives of the 21st Ohio Reënnactor’s group and the Fulton County Historical Society approached the community to see if Fayette would be interested in supporting an event to replace the Hastings (Mich.) Civil War Reënnactment on the reënnactors’ calendar.
“At that time, there was the thought that a Fayette event would simply pick up where the Hastings event left off,” Spiess said.
That was not the case.
Hastings was a mature operation with the involvement of hundreds of participants and a strong core of community support. It was located on the grounds of a site operated by the local historical society.
The Fayette event had to start from scratch.
After finding a host site adjacent to Fayette’s community park and developing a strong relationship with a core of regional reënactment groups, the Thistle Ridge event took on its own character as an educational and enrichment opportunity rather than simply a “reënactment event.”
With many military and civilian camping units on the site and a solid core of knowledgeable and enthusiastic reënnactors on hand and willing to share their knowledge and experiences, Thistle Ridge has became a place where sharing knowledge and “living history” has become the primary focus of the gathering.
This year’s encampment includes repeat activities such as the frying pan toss and the lantern tour, but it also brings new events including a Civil War poetry reading, a performance by the musical group “Menagerie,” a public picnic and Civil War Roundtable for participants to discuss the war and its impact on today’s society.
The Thistle Ridge Civil War site is located at the northeast edge of Fayette, just east of the community park and on the south side of Road S.
For more information, call 419/237-2683.