Fort Massac Encampment: A Southern Illinois Tradition

Rachel Torbert
Fort Massac Encampment: A Southern Illinois Tradition
METROPOLIS, Ill. – Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis will again host the Fort Massac Encampment Oct. 19-20, 2019. 

One of Illinois’ most popular fall festivals, the annual encampment provides visitors with a chance to experience what life was like at Fort Massac during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The site served as a military outpost along the Ohio River for personnel from France, Britain, and the early years of the United States from 1757 to 1814.

Event times are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. 

The Fort Massac Encampment is hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and sponsored by the Greater Metropolis Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

The encampment features an opening ‘Posting of the Colours’ ceremony both days. During each afternoon, mock military battles and tactical demonstrations will be performed by re-enactors on the Fort Massac grounds, with a military retreat ceremony closing both days’ activities. Hundreds of military re-enactors and other participants wearing period clothing will present the roles of explorers, traders, settlers and soldiers on the early Illinois frontier.

Family and youth activities include storytellers, magic and puppet shows, 18th century musical entertainment, and period craft makers demonstrating blacksmithing, basket-making, weaving, and other skills. Food and drink also will be available.

Admission to the encampment is free. Parking is provided at the Old Fairgrounds adjacent to the park. Fort Massac State Park is closed to public vehicle traffic during festival hours.

Fort Massac State Park, which opened as Illinois’ first state park in 1908, is located on the Ohio River at 1308 East Fifth Street in Metropolis. For more information about the encampment and the park, contact the site office at 618-524-4712. 
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