The Town of St. Michaels will bring the War of 1812’s history to life during a town-wide Battle of St. Michaels Bicentennial on Saturday, August 10. The town’s waterfront and historic district will transform to a time 200 years ago, with re-enactments, boat rides, cannon firings, a Talbot Street parade, horse drawn carriage rides, an Art show and more. The events are free and open to the public, with food, beverages, and boat and horse drawn carriage rides available for purchase.
The celebration continues on Sunday, August 11th when the Talbot County Watermen’s Association hosts the 4th Annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day and Crab Feast at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM). The event includes a boat docking contest, live music, celebrity appearances, and more, while honoring the watermen who work the same waters once under siege by the British two hundred years ago. Tickets for this event will be available for purchase at CBMM, the day of the event. CBMM’s newest exhibit, “Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake” will be open throughout the two-day celebration.
On Saturday, August 10, visitors will learn about the “Town that Fooled the British” and delve into the stories of St. Michaels’ residents and militia once under siege from the British in 1813. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with a parade down Talbot Street led by the Fort McHenry Guard in full regiment dress, along with the Fort McHenry Guard Fifes &Drums, the Eastern Shore Militia, Veteran Volunteers, Ships’s Company: War of 1812, the Royal Marines 1st Company 2nd Battalion, and The Living History Troop. Key venues for the day’s events include Muskrat Park, Hollis Park, the St. Michaels Museum on St. Mary’s Square, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
British and American encampments invite visitors to explore the dress and daily living conditions of the early 1800s, while discussing what life was like during that period of time. Visitors will see the Chesapeake Bay’s iconic skipjacks dockside, with skipjack sailing cruises, boat rides, and other on-the-water opportunities offered along St. Michaels harbor throughout the festivities. Guided walking tours, military drills, cannon firings, children’s activities and the ceremonial unfolding of a historic 30’ x 42’ War of 1812 flag will be among the activities for visitors to enjoy throughout the day.
The St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square, in conjunction with the Historical Society of Talbot County will be hosting re-enactors, teaching the art of candle dipping, exhibiting a diorama of the battle, demonstrating period dances, as well as providing historic walking tours of St. Michaels.
CBMM Director of the Center for Chesapeake Studies Robert Forloney will lead a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s “Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake” exhibit, which opened this past May. Sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, noted author Ralph Eshelman will speak at the Christ Church Parish Hall about his book, “In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake.”
Skits of “The Complete History of America (Abridged)” will be performed by the Roadhouse Players at various times during the day.
Children’s activities include a tug of war between the Americans and the British, model boat building, candle dipping, face painting, and period games, plus a chance to explore the Chesapeake aboard Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fish Mobile.
Local restaurants and churches will be offering food and drinks reminiscent of the time period, while town merchants offer sweet treats and more from their decorated storefronts. Pit beef, barbequed chicken, hotdogs and hamburgers will also be available throughout town.
The St. Michaels Art League’s “Celebrate St. Michaels” banners will be on display throughout the town, and feature images of local artists’ interpretations of the War of 1812 in St. Michaels. The banners and original artwork will be on display at the Woman’s Club located on St. Michaels Square and will be available for purchase from the artists.
Closing ceremonies will take place at St. Michaels’ waterfront Muskrat Park, including a Navy Brass Quintet concert, the final firing of the cannons, and culminating in a “Lighting of the Lanterns” ceremony, celebrating the legend of the townspeople who saved St. Michaels from the British in 1813.
On Sunday, August 11, the Talbot County Watermen’s Association’s 4th Annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day and Crab Feast takes place at CBMM. Festival-goers will enjoy hot crabs, cold beer, celebrity appearances, a boat docking contest, and live music beginning at noon with Bird Dog and the Road Kings. Coming to this year’s event are reality TV stars Edgar Hansen and Nick Mavar, both from the F/V Northwestern on Discovery Channel’s” Deadliest Catch,” along with Liz and Jessica Cavalier from the History Channel’s “Swamp People.” The event is generously sponsored by Maryland Public Television, among other supporters, with admission collected at the gate the day of the event. More information can be found at www.cbmm.org.