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Academies hosts living history event on May 14; ‘Drums Along the Maxinkuckee’ depicts 18th-century life

May 9, 2011

05/10/11 Eighteenth-century history will come to life May 14 along the shore  of Lake Maxinkuckee as Culver Academies host its seventh annual Living History Weekend.

“Drums Along the Maxinkuckee” will allow visitors to step back in time as they observe 25 to 30 historical re-enactors setting up their camps and displays on Friday night (May 13) on the Naval Building grounds east of the main campus. The encampments and demonstrations will depict life in the 1700s and is open to the public on Saturday (May 14) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. All events are free.

Saturday will be highlighted by a Scottish knife maker, an expert on lace,

Fraser’s Highland Regiment, a top-notch re-enactment group portraying the Highland Regiment from the French & Indian War; Pipes and Drums performing at 2 p.m.; and a demonstration of edged weaponry and combat at 3 p.m.

The re-enactments will be followed at 5 p.m. by a traditional 18th century Scottish meal (Hieland fare) in the Lay Dining Center. From 7-10 p.m. a historical dance with period music by folk musicians Mark and Liza Woolever of Plymouth will be held near the Naval Building. The Naval Building’s Green Room will be the site in the event of inclement weather.

“Drums Along the Maxinkuckee” will feature appearances Saturday by:

• Glenn McClain (Morgantown, Ind.), a formidable dirk (Scottish knife) maker, who will be bringing a portion of his collection of real 18th- century Highland swords and dirks.

• World expert on lace Kate Henry (Lowell, Ind.), who will share her collection of laces and demonstrate how lace is made.
• Fraser’s Highland Regiment, with members from throughout the state, is a re-enactment group portraying the Highland Regiment in the French & Indian War.

• Chris Harney (Reston, Va.) is historical fencing coach who will present a hands-on demonstration of combat with edged weapons with members of the Culver fencing team.

On Sunday, time will jump ahead two centuries with a display of vintage and classic cars from noon to 3 p.m. and a swing dance at the Naval Building. The Pioneer Auto Association Inc., based in South Bend, will have a variety of vehicles on display at the area along Indiana 10 behind Memorial Chapel. Cars ranging from 1930s-era roadsters to contemporary Mustangs and Corvettes will be parked for the public to admire and enjoy at no charge.

The weekend event is sponsored by the Living History Club, which was organized by Academies’ employees Deb Foley of Culver and Brent & Linda Van Norman of Knox in 2005.

Also involved is Dan Gilbert of Vienna, Va., a 1969 graduate of Culver Military Academy, who one of the organizers of the American Civil War Weekend held on campus in 2001. In 1986 Gilbert joined a living history (re-enactors) group portraying a regiment of Scottish Highlanders in Bonnie Prince Charles army, 1745-46.

“What an eye-opener to history,” Gilbert said. “The research that goes into an accurate portrayal is like a treasure hunt for obscure facts. And then getting your kit (clothes, weapons and accoutrement) is another treasure hunt. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you just have to make it. Finally, you present your work to the public and learn the art of presentation.”

Gilbert and Van Norman met during Gilbert’s Culver reunion in 2004. A year later, Van Norman, a Scottish Highlander re-enactor, and the Culver Pipes and Drums sponsored the “Highland Gathering,” the Academies’ first Living History Weekend.