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Get ready for the Battle of Lake Erie

Tom Jackson • Aug 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM

During the War of 1812, when British “Redcoats” invaded Ohio, the British invaders carried guns and were hostile to the new nation and the brand-new state.

Later this week, there will be a new invasion. But officials holding “Battle of Lake Erie” events in Put-in-Bay, Port Clinton and Kelleys Island look forward to a friendly army of tourists who will come carrying “green,” as in tourist dollars.

Months of preparation will culminate in a Labor Day re-enactment in Lake Erie near Put-in-Bay of the Battle of Lake Erie, the American navy’s defeat of the British fleet.

Oliver Hazard Perry led the Americans to victory on Sept. 10, 1813, wiping out a British fleet and sending back his famous message, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the War of 1812 will be celebrated in Put-in-Bay, Port Clinton and Kelleys Island. On Monday, the battle will be re-enacted.

The events will kick off on Thursday, when tall ships re-enacting the battle are scheduled to arrive in various local ports, including Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass Island, Port Clinton, Catawba Island Club, Pelee Island and Kelleys Island. Some of the Put-in-Bay ships are expected to be visible from the three live video feeds offered by Stone Laboratory, from cameras mounted at Cooke Castle on Gibraltar Island, the South Bass Island Lighthouse and the Stone Lab Research Building on South Bass Island.

See coverage of the parade at sanduskyregister.com and Friday's Sandusky Register

Put-in-Bay is getting several of the tall ships, including a replica of the Niagara, the ship Perry transferred to in the middle of the battle. There will also be numerous other activities in town, which also offers the Perry Memorial. Day sails and on-board tours will be offered on the ships, while DeRivera Park will feature a variety of historical demonstrations, vendors, and concerts.

The battle re-enactment is Monday afternoon. People on the tall ships, and on boats registered to anchor nearby, can watch the battle unfold.

Officials in Port Clinton and Kelleys Island say they’ll have similar events that’ll be easier for tourists to reach.    Port Clinton will have two tall ships, the Pathfinder and Playfair, and its celebration in the downtown area will be in conjunction with the annual Knights of Columbus Peach, Perch, Polka and Pierogi Festival, which will be conveniently nearby in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 109 E. Perry St.

Port Clinton’s “Battle of Lake Erie” celebration will have cannon demonstrations, re-enactors, storytellers and vendors.

Kelleys Island has a tall ship, too, the Appledore IV, and local organizers believe they’ll have events that are just as good as Put-in-Bay’s but easier to get to, said Steve Merkel, the events organizer.

The Kelleys Island Ferry will run constantly from Marblehead. Visitors won’t need transportation once they’re on the island, because a free “Tall Ship Tram” will ferry them to the eight locations offering fun and history tidbits.

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