So, how would you like to wear wool uniforms or full-length dresses (and we're not talking sundresses) in this heat?
If you've never known someone with such devotion to an activity they'd forgo their own comfort in the name of authenticity, well then, you've never met a re-enactor.
This weekend is your opportunity to do so, at the Old Fort when re-enactors dress in period costumes from the Revolutionary War era and demonstrate what life was like during that time.
Stuart Smith, along with about 90 other re-enactors, will be living in the Old Fort this weekend or in tents outside of it.
“Our uniforms and outfits are something to get used to,” he said. “They are very warm, but it gives us that feel of what the men and women were going through. Once you get used to wearing all that stuff, it really isn't that bad.”
Women usually wear long dresses, shawls, aprons and bonnets or hats. Men depicting soldiers wear wool uniforms lined with linen to cut down on the itch.
“We live the life as they did,” Smith said. “Our clothing is made with the same materials that they used.”
Authenticity is the goal, and not just with the clothing. Pots, pans and utensils are the same as what the people in the 18th century would have used.
“We all do a lot of research making sure that we are as accurate as possible,” Smith said.
So what will visitors see at the Old Fort this weekend? Bakers turning out bread, cooks in the kitchen, spinners and weavers, blacksmiths and wood carvers and Revolutionary War soldiers, both British and Continental (American).
“We will re-enact some battle tactics (if the burn ban is lifted),” Smith said.
Period musicians will provide music both days. Jonathan Hagee and E.L. Kurtz, who form the duo Colonial Balladeers, will perform songs and tunes circa 1780. Expect to hear American colonial music, as well as Irish, Scottish and English songs, from ancient lute ballads to pub songs, sing-along rounds and sea chanties.
The original Fort Wayne wasn't around during the Revolutionary War, but Smith said a battle was fought just northwest of Fort Wayne, off what is now U.S. 30 between Fort Wayne and Columbia City.
Smith enjoys the company of the other re-enactors; he says they become like family. He also enjoys experiencing life (albeit for short periods of time) as our forebears did.
“Sleeping inside the fort is a great experience,” he said. “The smell of wood burning in the fireplace and knowledge that you're sleeping and living like the men did during the Revolutionary War.”
Although he does it for the experience, he also hopes to impart some knowledge onto visitors who turn out for the re-enactment.
“Most of us do this so we can educate the public of how life was during these time periods,” he said. “We all have spent so much time researching and reading about history that we want to share it with everyone who will listen.