METNWS-10-14-21 Encampment – Encampment Returns_PHOTO

Mock military battles and tactical demonstrations are a big draw to the annual Fort Massac Encampment. Performed by re-enactors in the park's valley area, the battles will be held at 3 p.m. each day of the event.

Historic Fort Massac State Park is once again hosting one of Illinois’ most popular fall festivals as the the Fort Massac Encampment returns Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16-17.

The 47th annual events provides ample opportunity for visitors to experience what life was like at the fort during the 18th and early-19th centuries.

Encampment event times are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17.

Fort Massac served as a military outpost along the Ohio River for personnel from France, Britain and the early years of the United States from 1757 to 1814. It opened as Illinois' first state park in 1908. The Encampment began in 1974. The last Encampment was held in 2019, as the 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID.

Hundreds of military re-enactors and other participants wearing period clothing present the roles of explorers, traders, settlers and soldiers on the early Illinois frontier.

The Encampment features an opening “Posting of the Colours” ceremony at 10 a.m. both days at the old fort area. Each afternoon, mock military battles and tactical demonstrations will be performed at 3 p.m. by re-enactors will be held in the park's valley area, giving spectators the best view of the battle. A military retreat ceremony closes both days’ activities at 5 p.m. Saturday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Family and youth activities and food and drink will be available.

The Fort Massac Encampment is hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and sponsored by the Greater Metropolis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Admission to the Encampment is free. The park is located at 1308 East Fifth St. Parking is available at the Old Fairgrounds, adjacent to the park.

Fort Massac State Park will be closed to public vehicle traffic during the Encampment hours.

Since there will be very large crowds, for the safety of others, attendees are asked to adhere to all current COVID-19 regulations and maintain social distancing. Attendees who have COVID symptoms are asked to stay home. COVID vaccinations and testings are scheduled to be available in the medical area during the event.

For more information about the Encampment and the park, contact the site office at 618-524-4712.

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