I know that when I do not post for a while, I find that there are actually people who read this and are waiting for me to post something new. Sorry for the couple weeks of silence, but it has been for several reasons which I never discuss in this forum. Just issues of life that needed to be dealt with.
This month was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana. They held a one-time living history commemorative event. Steve Abolt, who organized the American side, said that it was the best, ever, event that he has ever done, and it will never happen again. Everyone involved knew it was a one-time only event, so they worked their best to make it good. He said that if it was the last event he ever did in his life, then he would be satisfied. It was unlike any event that he has done elsewhere, and makes Chalmette or Dade pale in comparison. (His descriptions were a little more graphic; such that I cannot repeat here!)
That said, I have to admit that in Florida, there is a lack of quality events. It has not changed as long as I have been interpreting living history, which is almost 26 years. The best events that I have done are in other states outside of Florida. The 1812 Grand Tactical, Alabama Frontier Days, or a few historic treks in Oklahoma. This is not to criticize events in Florida, it is just fact. At those events, the participants have researched their characters and history. All these events require pre-registration, and most require that you are a member of an organized unit. We have tried to do that in Florida with almost no success. The few good events in Florida that have quality interpreters are ones that are often by invitation only. They do not allow just anyone to show up wearing some mixture of pow wow dance regalia and mountain man buckskin.
There are a family of reenactors who come to Dade every year that most people hold in high regard. I will not mention their names here, but all of the reenactors will know who they are if I did. I do not think that everyone would be aware of some of the things I have seen them do. One of them carries a Spencer carbine, which was not invented for another 25 years after Dade in 1835. The other one once wore a turban made out of a Confederate battle flag. Both of these items are Civil War, totally inappropriate, and have no place at Dade Battle Reenactment. And these people know better. I like these guys myself, but seeing their lack of concern for historical accuracy at an event where they are participating does not make me hold them in as high reverence as other folks do.
Below: This is not Florida, but close to it. The event will not be named, either. This is an example of what is wrong at some events. It makes me cringe when I see it. Darth Mal clown makeup with civil war wool trousers, domestic rabbit fur breech cloth, and mullet haircut. I could say more, but you get the idea.
And that sums it up for me with what is wrong with events in Florida. People who know better but are just playing cowboys and Indians, in my opinion. They are not researching. They are not seeking to create an accurate persona. And since they have some Indian ancestor, then they think that make it alright for them to do what they want.
Okay, that is reenactors who want be Indians and have a hard time interpreting accurately. Next I will talk about Indians who want to interpret but have a hard time being reenactors. There are two sides to everything!