Summer

Raiders and Invaders weekend has fun for the family in St. Mary’s County

RaidersInvadersWBrookes Company2Leonardtown is going to be plundered again like it was over 100 years ago in Raiders & Invaders weekend June 6-8, 2014, and kids won't want to miss out on the fun.

During the war of 1812, Leonardtown, in St. Mary's County was repeatedly raided by British troops that stole livestock, supplies and slaves in support of their assault on Washington, D.C.

The British arrive again this weekend, but this time the town is ready for them and welcoming visitors with special events and activities in Leonardtown Friday and Saturday and other venues in St. Mary's County on Sunday during the Raiders & Invaders weekend.

Family friendly fun includes performances, music, hands-on activities and contests.

The event begins on June 6, with Raiders & Invaders First Friday in Leonardtown from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Family activities include 1812-themed hands-on fun for children at Yellow Door Art Studios presented by St. Mary's Macaroni Kid, traditional games at Ye Olde Town Café, and a performance of 1812-inspired songs and stories in the square by musician Gary Rue and historian Dan Shomette. The Newtowne Players will perform street theater throughout the town as various period characters both Friday and Saturday.

The Saturday Festival on June 7 begins at the College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown Campus. Visitors can park at the CSM parking lot and participate before walking or taking the event shuttle into town. Outdoor activities start at 10AM and continue throughout the day and include obstacle courses and geo-caching games based on Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia and The Hunger Games.

In Leonardtown proper, visitors can watch circus performers and participate in circus arts workshops by the Old Bay Circus, see a children's variety show by family entertainers Nicolo Whimsey, listen to master 1812 storyteller Ming Diaz, learn about what life was like in 1812 from demonstrators offering spinning and weaving, blacksmithing and lace-making, and see period encampments by the Brooke's Company and swordplay by the Calvert-Arundel Swordsmen.

Musical acts feature traditional maritime chanteys by the Ship's Company Chantymen, acoustic folk by Baltimore-based ILYAIMY and a performance by Downrange US Army Band.

Maritime activities include "Invasion Route" boat tours on Breton Bay with oyster buy-boats and other historic craft docked at the Wharf. The festival concludes with a free evening concert for all ages at the Wharf, featuring the music of Justin Myles and The British Invasion Tribute, playing favorites of the 60s British Invasion Era, including the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who.

Raiders & Invaders is part of the State of Maryland's War of 1812 Chesapeake Campaign – a year of bicentennial events and activities that follow the 1814 British push up the Chesapeake and Patuxent to Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Though there were few battles in Southern Maryland, the British continually harassed coastline residents and subsequently invaded the tiny Town of Leonardtown — population approximately 300. But victory was not as easy as it seemed. The Town residents convinced the British commander with his force of 1,500 not to burn the courthouse, but to move on out of town. And that, say event organizers, is worth commemorating.

For the most current event information, the public can log on to the Raiders and Invaders website.

Contributor Regina Verow

Photo: Brooke's Company of the Maryland Militia demonstrates what was life like for soldiers when they weren't fighting, including open-fire cooking, pastimes and artillery drills.

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