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MICHILIMACKINAC COLONIAL PAGEANT CELEBRATES 30TH YEAR MAY 23-25

 MICHILIMACKINAC COLONIAL PAGEANT CELEBRATES 30TH YEAR MAY 23-25
 MACKINAW CITY, Mich., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fort Michilimackinac Pageant is presented once each day during the three-day Memorial Weekend. It is the longest-running free attraction in the state of Michigan and is regarded as one of the oldest and most colorful historical pageants in the country. The presentation takes place on the grounds of Colonial Michilimackinac where the re-enacted events actually occurred.
 The cast is comprised of more than a fourth of the population of the village of Mackinaw City, approximately 200 townspeople, plus another 200-300 "Muzzleloaders" who come from many other areas in Michigan and from several other states to participate.
 The Muzzleloaders of Michilimackinac also include other groups that gathered in the past at the fort when it was an operating facility and a busy trading post. Among these were "Roger's Rangers," French voyagers, buckskinners, fur traders and French Marines, according to early records. The very same regiment involved in the Indian uprising re-enacted in the pageant also marched all the way from Fort Michilimackinac in 1775 into Lexington where they participated in the episode of the "shot heard 'round the world" which precipitated the American Revolutionary War.
 The pageant begins with the national anthems of both the United States and Canada. The narrator then begins with the history of the re-enactment and you are transported back to an era more than 225 years ago to the very spot where the events happened.
 You will see the French colonials and voyagers mingling with traders and Indians. You will observe their carefully researched and authentic costumes, many of which consist of materials and articles made by hand, as they were at that time. You will learn that the Indians and French were amiable neighbors who respected one another. You will meet Henry Bostwick, a prominent trader for decades in this region; Ezekiel Soloman, Michigan's first Jewish resident and trader; Alexander Henry, a native of New Jersey and an important character in the events at Michilimackinac. Also, you will meet the famous Indian chiefs, Minevana and Matchekewis of the Ojibwa tribe, and Wawatam, who becomes blood brother to Alexander Henry and later saves his life.
 Following what is known here as the "French and Indian War" with the British, the fort comes under the rule of the English, who treat the Indians as servants and offer few gifts. Pontiac, the great Ottawa chief, calls for a war council and devises a scheme for each tribe in his domain to annihilate the British outposts in the Northwest. This leads to the apparently innocent "Bagattaway Game" at Fort Michilimackinac with the great number of Indians assembling outside the stockade.
 In spite of the warm weather on the morning of June 2, 1763, the Indian women appear with blankets, inappropriate for that time of year. Their heavy blankets conceal weapons of battle for the braves. The Indians plan to gain entrance to the fort during the game. The signal will be given and they will charge in. The British soldiers garrisoned at the fort are invited to watch the game. Even the pompous Capt. Etherington and his family are invited to view the contest.
 The ball is put into play. The plan is for the ball to go over the wall the first time, then a second time when one Indian may retrieve the leather-covered ball, and finally a third time when the Indians will enter the fort and take it over.
 During the entire weekend, demonstrations and contests will be held and may be observed by the public. Uniquely decorated tepees mark the site of many events. Visitors will observe the various crafts and skills demonstrators use in creating articles that were used long ago. The groups will also use cooking utensils and recipes for food of that era. They will wear colorful authentic costumes during the entire weekend, as will most shopowners.
 The Pageant Parade is the largest Memorial parade in the Midwest featuring the Soo Regiment Bagpipes and a concert by the Scottsville Clown Band. The "Gitchi-gama Strings," a group of 11 musicians who play hammered dulcimer, guitars, mandolin, autoharp, flute, recorder and percussion instruments, will perform free concerts Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. and Monday at 11 a.m. on the Marina Park Lawn.
 There is no charge for any of the pageant performances, but donations are appreciated and a collection is taken at the end of each performance.
 For more information, please contact:
 The Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce, 616-436-5574;
 Historian Ken Teysen, 616-436-7011 or 616-436-7641; or
 Pageant Chairman Chuck Brew, 616-436-5183 or 616-436-5570.
 To receive a Mackinaw Area Travel Planner, please call The Mackinaw Area Tourist Bureau at 1-800-666-0160 and leave your complete name and address.
 -0- 5/19/92
 /CONTACT: Gail McBride of the Mackinaw Area Tourist Bureau, 616-436-5664/ CO: Mackinaw Area Travel Bureau ST: Michigan IN: LEI SU:


SM -- NYMFNS2 -- 1599 05/19/92 07:22 EDT
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Date:May 19, 1992
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