Hey everyone, I just thought I'd share with you the events of the last two full days of Fort Edmonton being fully open (that was August 28th and 29th). They were fun-filled days, which were liberally photographed. Click here to see!
Okay, so some of those photos deserve some explanation. The first two were taken of Mike at the Fort Party we had a month or so ago. He always comes dressed for the occasion
. I just linked you to a photo of him dressed as a pirate as we moved the York Boat into the water a while back. He came to a dinner at Julio's Barrio, a Mexican bar on Whyte Avenue, dressed in a poncho, sombrero, and bandoliers. He is epic. And our lovely vegetarian blacksmith.
As for those dinner photos... The Black Powder Society of Edmonton is a historical firearms society that enjoys, well, firing off 18th and 19th century muskets. They are epic, period. They camped out just outside the fort walls overnight before Harvest Fair on the 29th, cooking all day... and firing off muskets. They let me fire off three towards the end of the day. Sorry, general public - only people in costumes are allowed to fire them. ;) When they hang about the fort, they portray a group of free traders from 1805, many of them former Nor'Westers, the Hudson's Bay Company's direct competitors, defunct in 1846, the year the rest of us portray. They're so epic, though, that we forgive them. They invited us fort interpreters to dinner (cooked over an open fire all day!) after the park closed. The only condition they had was that we ate in costume. Even a light drizzle couldn't bring down our spirits. We also toasted the fur trade and the monarch with port. :)
As for the other photos... On the final day of the year, we have a very special programme... all of our men disappear from the fort (including some supervisors from other streets, all costumed up for the occasion), goods are taken from the trade store and loaded up into the functioning York Boat before visitors get there... and two hours into the day, we have a York Boat arrival programme. I was trapped in the Married Men's quarters watching the fire as I made vegetable stew, one of the few people left to literally hold down the fort and direct visitors down to the river. The free traders obligingly fired off some musket blanks to welcome the men as they arrived from their long journey from Hudson's Bay. ;) I didn't get to see the arrival myself, but Lori, the Midway supervisor, took photos with my camera. Look, laborers doing labor! How unusual for us! ;)
As for the final photos... Now, most of the time, we costumed historical interpreters are forbidden from what we call "time warping". AKA the First World War veteran from 1920s street cannot under any circumstances appear walking down 1905 street, just as Dr. True, the quack from 1885 street cannot try to ply his wares at the 1846 Fur Trading Fort, no matter how much we may be in need of medicine. BUT on the final day, just before closing, standards are relaxed, or, rather, broken, as interpreters, starting with us at the fort, run down the other streets, gathering personnel as we go, to storm the 1920s Midway for a ride on the carousel. It was epic.
One of the men from 1885 street, Mr. Ottowell, as he is normally called, appeared at quarter to 6:00 calling himself Sir George Simpson (our Chief Factor John Rowand's boss) to tell us to begin, and we then chased him down 1885 street, yelling. You see, 1885 was also the year of the Riel Rebellion
, and in Edmonton, then a city of just 300 inhabitants, had a scare. Apparently someone saw a Métis man with a musket, probably coming back from the hunt, and, hearing of all the dreadful news of Riel's rebellion further east, thought that they, too, were being attacked, and actually fled into the old abandoned HBC fort, huddling there for three weeks before a small detatchment of government troops arrived to confirm that they had been completely safe the entire time. Anyway, in a parody of history, we, the angry "Métis" charged 1885 street (Mr. Harriott, in his starched white collar, claimed to be a Métis sympathizer). We took out the Mountie first, of course.
We then proceeded to sneak onto 1905 street all together with the 1885ers to collect the 1905ers, boarding the streetcar from there, only stopping to pick up a few 1920s interpreters and to have Tom Long, the 1920s supervisor, shake his fist at us. Supervisor Mike of 1905 street, eating an ice cream cone, also briefly stopped to shake his head at us in mock exhasperation and chastise us for congregating (which normally happens when three or four of us gather together to talk, not, uh, the entire populations of four streets).
From there, we sang a few rousing songs on our way to the Midway. Upon disembarking from the streetcar (and thanking its driver), one of the men from 1905 street gave a rousing pre-battle inspirational speech, and we then charged the Midway, taking over the carousel entirely.
Then, it was all celebrating and frolicking and photographing. We met up at the Selkirk bar, the functioning bar within our hotel on 1920s street for a few drinks. We of the fort, though, had to make our way to the exact opposite end of the park, so Billy of the Motordrome on 1920s street gave us fur traders a lift on an old Model Ford, all the way INTO the Fort itself.
A wonderful end to the season. Except that I still have to work weekends in September. But still - the last day in which everyone was there!