The Town that fooled the British is celebrating the bicentennial of its battle during the War of 1812. It all happens on Saturday, August 10th and 11th in St. Michaels, Maryland with cannon firings and food, a small town parade and food, boat rides and reenactments of the life and times 200 years ago… and food.
Once a center of shipbuilding, St. Michaels was targeted by the British because a fast schooner was built there. Known as the Baltimore clipper, the sailing ship was fast and could maneuver around the slower ships of the British fleet. Many battles of the War of 1812 were fought on the sea especially after the British set up a naval blockade. Determined to destroy a construction center, Admiral Cockburn sailed up the river toward St. Michaels. Acting on advance warning, the townspeople hung lanterns in the trees outside of town then went back to their darkened homes and waited. According to legend, the British opened fire on the lantern-lit “town” then sailed away, confident they’d accomplished their mission. The shipyards survived the bombardment. Many of the homes from that night still stand in St. Michaels’ historical district including the Cannonball House, struck during the attack.
In commemoration, St. Michaels is hosting an all-day celebration on August 10th beginning with a parade at 10 AM led by the Ft. McHenry Guard in regiment dress and the Fife & Drum corps along with other historic representatives. British and American “encampments” welcome visitors to explore the dress and way of life during the 1800’s. Another special event is listed below!
Children can pull in the Tug of War between the Americans and the British, do some model boat-building and candle-dipping, play period games and explore the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fish Mobile.
An art show, skipjack sailing cruises, boat rides, walking tours, military drills and a ceremonial unfolding of an historic War of 1812 flag are among the activities offered that day. When you get hungry, stroll through the town for food and drink that harken back to 1812 plus pit beef, BB chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and of course, seafood at the local restaurants and celebration sites. Don’t forget the new exhibit at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum called “Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake.” (Note: some activities require tickets but many events are free.)
Alert for frequent visitors to St. Michaels: the cannons in Muskrat Park on the harbor will fire at certain times throughout the day! For newcomers, this is a rare event!
At the end of the day, after a concert and final cannon salute, the lanterns will be lit once again in recognition of the brave act that saved a town and a way of life so many years ago. For more information, call the town office at 410-745-9535
But the fun doesn’t stop there!
On Sunday, August 11th, join the annual Waterman’s Appreciation Day and Crab Feast at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Enjoy hot crabs and cold beer, cheer the captains at the boat-docking contest and revel in the live music beginning at noon. TV celebrities from the- “Deadliest Catch” and “Swamp People” will visit, too. (Tickets required)
SATURDAY SPECIAL EVENT:
Be sure to drop by and say hello at the American Holiday shop on the main street where I’ll be signing my new murder mystery set in St. Michaels, “Tarnished Silver” and enjoy a Bloody Mary and some delicious goodies starting at 10 AM, Saturday.
See you on the 10th!