4 things to see at the Living History Fair

July 13, 2018 GMT

Welcome to the 1860s!

The History Center of Olmsted County holds its fourth annual Living History Fair this weekend, taking you back to the Civil War with re-enactments, demonstrations, and period activities all day long. There’s plenty to see and do, but we’re recommending four things you definitely won’t want to miss while you’re there.

Meet the President of the United States

Yes, you read that right. This weekend is your chance to meet President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. They’ll be walking around the grounds, and although you may have to explain to them what a cell phone is, they’re sure to be available for photos. (Speaking of photos, don’t forget to have yours taken at the antique photo booth before you go.)

See the Siege of Vicksburg

Between May 18 and July 4, 1863, Confederate and Union armies battled outside the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The conflict ultimately resolved in a Union victory after almost 30,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered on Independence Day.

Although this military assault ended more than 150 years ago, the final days of the siege and surrender will be brought back to life in Olmsted County, with Union and Confederate reenactors staging demonstrations at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Yes, there will be cannons.

Attend a magical medicine show

The newest addition to the Living History Fair, Dr. Silas McFee’s Magical Medicine Show peddles wares of dubious medicinal value while entertaining you with comedy, short plays, and music. Also known as snake oil salesmen, members of medicine shows in the 1800s were good performers and terrible doctors. But that won’t stop Dr. McFee and his colorful colleagues from pitching you a few of their products.

Get a taste of enlisted life

Ever wondered what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War? Wonder no more! Confederate and Union infantry and artillery drills are scheduled for both days, and Civil War expert Arn Kind will be teaching drills and maneuvers to interested “recruits” throughout the weekend. There will also be field hospital demonstrations at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and again at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday.