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River of Time Encampment Returns to Bay City

Reenactors Demonstrate History From Colonial Times Through Viet Nam

September 24, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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The Bay County Historical Society's River of Time Living History Festival event returned to the Bay City Riverfront, and Veterans Memorial Park this weekend. An estimated 700 reenactors and about 10,000 visitors stepped back in time to see how people lived throughout Michigan's history. The event was also visited by 200 members of the Historical Society of Michigan, which held it's annual State History Conference at the DoubleTree Hotel.

Reenactments are held worldwide by historical enthusiasts who take their history very seriously. Everything from dress to food to lodging must be accurate for the period being portrayed. Most events are staged by organized groups and typically concentrate on a single time period. The River of Time endeavors to combine many groups to cover the entire time line from Native American, Colonial, French and Indian, Civil War, Mexican War, World Wars I and II and Viet Nam.

A visitor to the River of Time is impressed immediately by the number of people, the equipment, the sights and sounds. It's like stepping into another world. For the reenactors, it's also a way of life. Entire family groups dress for their period and step into that way of life. Youngsters learn the way things were done by their forefathers but also learn practical skills for today. Besides, it's just fun to dress up like six year old Autumn Beiger shown at right.

The reenactors almost always put on mock battles, march to the fife and drum, and fire off a cannon now and then. When asked at 7:40 am if he was going to fire the Model 1841 Six Pounder Field Gun, the gunner said he wouldn't wake up the town just yet. But he said it was a close thing the morning before when the geese and ducks on the river got everyone up about two hours before the normal bugle call. "I was about ready to take a shot at those birds!" he said.

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Marshall Krueger 13, Scott Cope 10, and Kim Osbergoard 12, prepare potatoes for a stew.

Members of River of Time Troop 1, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts gather for breakfast. The specially designated troop invited any area scout to camp with them for the weekend.

Both Friday and Saturday nights had their share of thunderstorms. Both days, however, were cloudy but with only a few sprinkles. Dawn breaks over the encampment Sunday.

13 year old Chris Stark started the mornings fire using flint and steel.

Breakfast and enough bacon to go around!

Fun at breakfast as the officer takes a collection in the cup on his hat.

Jan Soderquist helps 11 year old Rebekah Pierce make bread from scratch.

Emma Scott and Amy Cope make apple dumplings

Ruby Braley, Rosalee Justa and 10 year old Zachary Barber make chicken soup. The Bay City group represent settlers who, in the 1870's, traveled from New York to Michigan's Upper Pennsuila looking for work in the copper mines. And looking for available men, laughed Rosalee.

Members of the USS Michigan's Marine Guard from the War of 1860 enjoy fellowhship around the table after dark.

Watch for more River of Time Photos on's Photo of the day.

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 has covered the River of Time since 2003.
Take any of these links for prior year coverage:

2018.a, 2018.b
2017.a, 2017.b, 2017.c,
2015, 2014, 2013,
2012, 2011, 2010, 2009,
2008, 2008, 2008, 2008,
2007, 2007,
2006, 2006,
2005, 2005, 2005,
2004, 2003,

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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