Online Staff Report
ELIZABETH, Ill. — In 1832, Independence Day was one of the biggest holidays of the year. Guests are invited to celebrate in 1832 style at the Apple River Fort in Elizabeth, Ill., from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, July 6, for a Patriotic Picnic.
Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and lunch (several places in the Village of Elizabeth provide carry-out lunch). Cookies and lemonade will be provided.
Activities in and around the fort will include a muzzle-loading contest, games for all ages, period dancing, toasts, a Temperance Speech, and a “Liar’s Club” contest.
A reading of the Declaration of Independence will also be included. In 1832, it was traditional to have the Declaration of Independence read by upstanding local citizens, and the fort will continue that tradition by having portions read by Elizabeth Mayor Michael Dittmar and other local dignitaries.
The reading is not a solemn event! Listeners in 1832 would not have sat quietly during a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, they would have heartily cheered throughout the more patriotic portions and booed during the list of our grievances with the king. Visitors are encouraged to do the same.
Admission to the fort is free. A flag-raising ceremony will begin at noon. All other activities will be repeated throughout the afternoon. Flag lowering will be at 3 p.m.
The Apple River Fort State Historic Site is along U.S. Route 20 (about 20 minutes east of Galena, Ill.) at 311 E. Myrtle St., Elizabeth, Ill. The fort is a recreation of the fort attacked by Black Hawk and his Sauk and Fox warriors during the turbulent summer of 1832. Today, the fort tells the story of the Sauk and Fox Native Americans, the early settlers and the conflict that became known as the Black Hawk War.
For more details, call (815) 858-2028 or visit www.appleriverfort.org. The Apple River Fort State Historic Site is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Posted July 2, 2014