A Grand Fusillade of cannon and rifle fire follows the Reading of the States during the Old Fashioned Independence Day program at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in 2018.

Visitors to Fort Atkinson will get a chance to celebrate an old-fashioned Fourth of July with a touch of modern technology July 6-7.

In addition to a Living History weekend, the fort will have additional activities to celebrate the holiday as if it were 1821 visited by 2019.

"Reading of the states, Monroe Doctrine will be read, we got an ice cream social, we got a guy out making — it's modern — but he's making recurve bows on site, doing demonstrations," Park Superintendent Jason Grof said.

Though 1820s-style log hewing and history of the flag demonstrations will occur, other modern events like the recurve bow making will also take place. The Nebraska National Guard will fly in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter around noon and be on site until around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, weather permitting.

"Hopefully there's no weather that affects that," Grof said. "Last time, they were delayed because of storms, and they were only able to stay on the ground for a couple hours. But hopefully, it looks like it's supposed to be a pretty decent weekend."

The Fourth of July weekend is the first of numerous events the fort has planned through October, including more military vehicle displays.

"Here on out, there's a possibility of an event every weekend of some sort," Grof said.

Some of the events include bicentennial celebrations, such as the first weekend of August when multiple guest presenters will be at the fort discussing Native American history. Other events include a Girl Scouts and Nebraska State Park collaboration in July as well as a military equipment flea market and military vehicle displays in August and September.

Grof said a local chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association called Iron Soldiers of the Great Plains just started.

"There's one guy in our chapter that has 30-plus vehicles," Grof said. "I don't know how many of those run and all that, but there's a good possibility we'll have quite a few and a couple helicopters."

Grof said he's been trying to add as many activities as he can to Living History weekends for a diverse experience for visitors. But if visitors want to view as much of that diversity as they can, they need to begin the Fourth of July weekend when an exhibit supported by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and produced by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will be on display.

"Patriot Nations. This is a pretty well known traveling display," Grof said. "Any Native American who ever fought in any conflict all the way from Revolutionary War, Civil War to current."

Orders of the Day for July 6 and 7

  • 10 a.m. Flag raising (both days)
  • 10:30 a.m. On-going history of flag in Craft Room (both days)
  • 11:30 a.m. Ice cream in the Locust Grove (both days)
  • Noon to 3:30 p.m. UH-60 Black Hawk static display (July 6)
  • 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Log hewing demo (both days)
  • 1:45 a.m. National Anthem (Saturday)
  • 2 a.m. Reading of the states on the parade ground (both days)
  • 4:30 a.m. Drummer's call and lowering of the flag (both days)
  • Through the day Bow making in the Council House (both days)

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