By Beth David, Editor
This weekend, Fairhaven will commemorate Memorial Day with a variety of events. On Monday the public is invited to a flag raising and lowering at Fort Phoenix, and a parade down Main Street. On Saturday and Sunday, the Fairhaven Village Militia will hold an encampment at Fort Phoenix with a variety of activities for the whole family, including the firing of the fort’s five cannons on Saturday evening.
Spring Revolutionary War encampment
The Revolutionary War era will come to life again in Fairhaven during a two-day historical encampment scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 27 & 28, 2017 at Fort Phoenix.
During that weekend, members of the Fairhaven Village Militia and the Fairhaven Office of Tourism will live in an authentic period camp the same way it was done more than 230 years ago. Men, women and children dressed in period clothing will reenact life in 1778 and talk about the history of the fort. They will also be demonstrating campfire cooking, fire starting with flint and steel, musket ball casting, military drilling, loading and firing flintlock muskets and rifles, tin-smithing, leather working, sewing, cannon firing and more. Visitors may try their hand at tomahawk throwing and children’s games of the period.
The highlight of the weekend will be the firing of the fort’s five large cannons, scheduled for dusk, approximately 7:45 p.m., on Saturday. When fired near sundown, the cannons’ plumes of flames and smoke make a spectacular sight.
The Fairhaven Village Militia began as a small volunteer group in 1999. Made up of members who are interested in local history of the Revolutionary War period, they hold historical encampments in Fairhaven and nearby communities and host educational programs. The group’s commander, Ellsworth Sylvaria Jr., is a descendant of Bartholomew West, whose home was burned by the British in 1778.
Member Wayne Oliveira was originally a member of the Fourth Old Dartmouth Militia group that was started by the late Donald R. Bernard before the nation’s Bicentennial.
There are a couple of teenage members who have been participating in historical reenactments since very early childhood.
“Since we started programs at the fort, thousands of people, including hundreds of school children, cruise ship passengers, visitors and local residents have visited us at Fort Phoenix,” says Tourism Director Christopher Richard. “They find our presentations are both educational and entertaining. The militia has also taken part in events in surrounding communities.
“At the encampment, the group is depicting camp life during the Revolutionary War period. There will be regular demonstrations of military drilling and musket firing, but there will be no large-scale battle re-enactments,” said Mr. Richard.
Both the cannon firing and the overnight encampment will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain. Weather permitting, the militia’s camp will open to the public from 9:00 until sunset on Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call the Office of Tourism at 508-979-4085 or email email@example.com.
A flag raising will be held on Mon., 5/29, at Fort Phoenix, Fort Street, Fairhaven at 7 a.m. to half staff, NOON to full staff. The Memorial Day flag raising ceremony at the fort is sponsored by the North Fairhaven Improvement Association with the Fairhaven Boy Scouts. The flag will be lowered at 5 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
Master of Ceremonies, Ted Silva, 7:00 a.m., raising of the Flag to Full-Staff, brought to Half Staff by Fairhaven Boy Scouts; at 12:00 noon; raising of Flag to Full-Staff; at 5:00 p.m., flag lowered and folded by Boy Scouts, Taps. By St. Mary’s Church Troop 52, Scout Master Robert Dorgan; Troop Committee Member, Pauline Parker; First Congregational Church Troop 55, Scout Master, Scott Fernandes
The NFIA was organized on June 29th, 1950 with its first meeting at Oxford School. Today we honor the first officers elected to the Association: Walter J. Borowicz, President; James J. Medeiros, Vice President; Jose Urquiola, Secretary; Joseph Oliveira, Treasurer. Each of these four Fairhaven Residents were prime examples of the pride we all hold in our Town of Fairhaven. Besides serving in the NFIA, each one gained the love and respect of thousands of Fairhaven residents over many years.
Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 29, steps off at 8:30 a.m., Main Street, from Center Street north to Riverside Cemetery
Units will march from Center and Main streets north to Riverside Cemetery. There will be a pause at Fairhaven High School for the raising of the “Big Flag” with the National Anthem performed by Fairhaven High School music students. At Riverside Cemetery there will be a ceremony at the Civil War monument, followed by a cannon salute. Veterans who are unable to march, but want to participate, should meet at the Fairhaven Senior Center, 508-979-4029, by 8 a.m. for van. See ad on page 24 for details.
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