Trail of History

01 October 2007
Written by 
Published in History
A fun and educational living history re-enactment of the Northwest Territory between 1670 and 1850.

It’s that time of year again. The arrival of autumn brings the 19th annual Trail of History presented by the McHenry County Conservation District. The unique historical festival will be held October 20th and 21st from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Glacial Park in Ringwood.

Be prepared to travel back in time and explore what life was like in the Northwest Territory from 1670 to 1859. Park your car, and it’s just a one-mile stroll to camp. Along the way, you’ll be greeted by period re-enactors full of historic information. Just try to get them to break character. They’ll be confused by such tools as cell phones and iPods. Most re-enactors camp Wednesday thru Sunday, so they’re not used to modern luxuries.

Once at the encampment, wander around to watch demonstrations of trades and crafts of the early settlers. Be sure to stop by the kitchen house, where demonstrators will be cooking frontier-style all day and discussing settlers’ eating habits, gathering techniques and special ingredients. Walk towards Nippersink Creek and discover the Métis Village. The Métis are of French and Native American descent. Learn about their unique history and their means of survival during America’s beginnings. The MCCD plans this event annually to teach people about the interrelationship between humans, nature and the development of our culture.

There is something for everyone at the Trail of History. Kids can make their own cornhusk dolls, play old-fashioned games and dress up in frontier-style costumes. History buffs will enjoy re-enactments of the French and Indian War and swordsmanship demonstrations. Dr. Balthazar will be on hand to sell you his potions and serums to cure any of your aliments. There will be plenty of entertainment for all, with a variety of musicians, dancers and even fortunetellers. Be sure to come with an appetite. You won’t want to miss Bud’s old-fashioned root beer, served in a nostalgic blue glass bottle, homemade kettle corn and buffalo burgers.