ELIZABETHTOWN — For the better part of two days, a portion of the town of Elizabethtown will be transformed to an era some 233 years ago when the third annual Battle of Elizabethtown re-enactment unfolds in Tory Hole Park.
The event is a modern-day re-enactment of the Revolutionary War struggle between the Tories of England and the outnumbered local militia men in August 1781, during which the local patriots surprised the Tories and forced them into a retreat into Elizabethtown’s giant ravine now known as Tory Hole.
“We’re hoping to see 1,000 people come out for this one,” Seth Lewis, a Bladen County Historical Society and re-enactment organizer, said recently. “It should be bigger and better than the first two.”
The re-enactment was held at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market in 2012, with the “battle” taking place between the Farmer’s Market and stringing across West Br4oad Street to behind what is now Wells Fargo at the edge of Tory Hole.
In 2013, the re-enactment was moved to Tory Hole Park where, despite a rainy weekend, the “battle” was performed in among the trees.
This year, the weekend will see events and activities at both Tory Hole Park and the Farmer’s Market — and the entire weekend is being sponsored by Four County Electric Membership Corporation, the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, the town of Elizabethtown and the Bladen County Historical Society.
“This will be a fun family weekend,” said Dawn Maynard, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “There will be things for all ages in the park and at the Farmer’s Market.”
In Tory Hole park, the weekend will kick off with a cannon-fire welcome at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by period music and a children’s militia drill at 11 a.m. The rest of the day will feature a doll-making class at 11:30 a.m., cannon and musket demonstrations, numerous children’s activities, Scottish music at 1 p.m., a tomahawk-throwing competition at 1 p.m., a Battle of Elizabethtown history lesson at 3 p.m., a square dance at 5 p.m. and a movie at 8 p.m.
The Battle of Elizabethtown re-enactment will highlight the day beginning at about 4 p.m.
Throughout Saturday at the Farmer’s Market will be a craft fair and bluegrass music by the Huckleberry Brothers Band from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Sunday in Tory Hole Park, an 18th century church service will be held at 10 a.m., followed by period music at 11 a.m., a weapons demonstration at 11:30 a.m., children’s activities, cannon fire at 1 p.m. and the Battle of Elizabethtown history lesson at 1:30 p.m.
The Battle of Elizabethtown re-enactment will be held at 2 p.m.