By Alex Simmons
This past weekend, Springville residents Chuck and Jennifer Weber spent their day out at Old Fort Niagara, reenacting the French and Indian War. At this event visitors can take a step back to 1759, visiting people “of the time.”
A reenactor’s typical day consists of “getting up after a night of sleeping in a tent, making breakfast over a fire or in some cases the site will provide a few meals,” Chuck said.
Since the weekend was a reenactment of the French and Indian war, “usually there is a tactical ‘battle’ at least once a day.” Chuck explained. “Lunch/dinner is scheduled or in between demonstrations.”
Chuck said that finishing off the day is a “nice, relaxing evening attending parties and/or having great conversations just in camp with fellow reenactors.”
Chuck and Jennifer Weber have been reenacting different wars at Fort Niagara and at “a little museum in Lancaster called Hull House” since they met several years ago, Chuck said. “I have been doing it for 22 years total,” he added.
Charles “Chuck” Weber grew up in Niagara Falls where he had a friend who worked a summer as a tour guide at Fort Niagara.
“I had always liked history and reenacting, I decided to do it myself after watching him put together his uniform and participate in a few events,” he explained. Now, Chuck portrays three time periods.
“In the French and Indian War period (1749-1763), I portray a French Marine,” he said. “They were the soldiers who built and defended the forts of New France.”
Reenactors always come with unique “old-timey” costumes, but Chuck said most reenactors make their own clothes based on historical research and original examples.
According to Chuck, “Most reenacting groups have done said research, so they provide guidance to members, in terms of what to get, where to get it, or how to make it.”
Besides the French and Indian War period, Chuck also participates in the Revolutionary War period (1774-1783) as a “colonial ranger/scout with a company called Hoisington’s Rangers.”
The group was raised to patrol “along the southern end of Lake Champlain, northern Massachusetts, and southern Vermont, but now we mainly do events at Fort Niagara and Hull House,” he said.
In the 1812 period (1810-1815), Chuck portrays, “an officer in the New York state militia, and a private in the Black Rock/Buffalo town militia.”
Chuck does reenactments mostly in the summer where he could easily travel to an event a weekend around Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania, tending to about three to four events a summer.
Chuck said really enjoys doing reenactments and seeing friends that he’s known for 20-plus years. He also enjoys “camping in picturesque historic sites and parks and recreating history for tourists and visitors.”
“The fort has tons of events throughout the summer, and each one has its own individual charm,” he added.
You can also catch Chuck and Jennifer Weber performing on the stage at the Springville Center for the Arts from time to time, bringing their love of acting to the spotlight.