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Annual River of Time Brings Living History to Bay City's Riverfront

Mike Scott of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians portrays Nodin (The Wind)

September 26, 2010       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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The Bay County Historical Society once again rolled back the clock on in Veteran's Memorial Park for the annual River of Time Historical Encampment. Hundreds of reenactors and thousands of visitors strolled among tents, teepee's, and campsites representing life as it was from the 1600's through World War II.

Many of the reenactors have been coming to River of Time for years. Friendships are renewed and people are surprised at how the kids have grown in one year.

Eliot McFarland, a regular at River of Time, returned this year in the role of Scottish Lord Elcho. In this portrayal he assumes the role of a wealthy gentleman surveying the new world. These men traveled in style, accompanied by his wife and family, a butler, a cook, and numerous servants. He slept in a comfortable bed and ate from fine china that was packed in sawdust and transported from place to place. McFraland's camp featured an elegant table setting in his dining pavilion. He is typically accompanied by as many as ten servants.

Each year finds a few new groups in camp. More interest is being shown in the World War II, Korean and Vietnam periods. Kids had a ball playing on the 48 & 8's locomotive. And Kristen Henry was kept busy making authentic military dog tags.

River of Time is run by an all volunteer committee of the Bay County Historical Society. Admission is free to the public with cost of the event underwritten by sponsors, fund raising, and donations.

The Bay County Historical Society, founded in 1919, is the legacy of the original Pioneer Society which was founded in the 1870's with the objective of preserving the history of Bay County. The Society and Museum are located next door to City Hall and feature a huge collection of historical items, a large research library, and numerous exhibits on multiple floors.

To become a member of the Bay County Historical Society, call the Museum office at (989) 893-5733.

Randy Baker of Columbiaville makes EVERYONE Hungry with a large skillet of venison stew.

Students from Central High take notes as Aankutikwe (Cloud Woman) tells about Native American life in the great lakes during the French and Indian war period.

A blue prairie dress blows in the breeze.

Mary Zube works with face paint mixed in a shell.
In the background Shyanne Griffon paint Erin Ettline's face.

Father Jacques Marquette founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie in the 1670's.

Firewood duty

Kristen Henry makes authentic military dog tags.

Chris Kaschafsky (aka Blackbeard) entertains youngsters with his pet griffin Maximilian of the Order of the Thermal.

Jeff Dake young Civil War gunners assistant.

Kathy Hoard shows off her Apple Betty before putting the Dutch Oven on the coals.

John Leach portrays a Royal British Navy Lieutenant on the Great Lakes in 1910.

Eliot McFarland, in the role of Scottish Lord Elcho and dressed in his fine Banyan cap and gown, gave manners lessons to children who visited his River of Time camp.

Karen McFarland and Michelle Wilson attend Lord Elcho's table in the dining pavilion.

Ragnarr Alfordson, portraying an 18th century Hudson Bay fur trader, sews a beaded vest.

A recruiter from an earlier time signs up a young soldier for service.

Civil War soldiers in the center of camp.

The clouds parted Saturday evening to wash the camp in brilliant light against the dark overcast in the distance.

Getting married at River of Time is a tradition for reenactors. Rev. Monty Mondeau officiated at the joining of Robert Belyea and Teira Irelan. The couple kiss to the applause of their attendants. 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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