Grand Rogue Campground

Historical encampment brings flesh and blood to the history books

September 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

by MATT MARN From German WWII trucks to working British Revolutionary War cannons, the Grand Rogue Living History Encampment helped history come alive. From excited young children to individuals who lived through some of these time periods, everyone who walked through the encampment stepped through to another time. What’s more, they all learned something about what shaped our country and the people in it into what they are today. The encampment was held Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, at the Grand Rogue Campground and Paddle Sports, 6400 West River Dr., Comstock Park. “The encampment was an example of many held around the country,” said Dave Schmid, a 34-year reenactment veteran at the professional level, working before classes and crowds on a regular basis. “Most have a hard time understanding how life was like back then,” Schmid said, who joined the ranks of reenactment participants right out of high school. “As you watch their faces… then they get it, like a light was switched on. They start to ask questions, and they go home and learn about their own past, and they learn from that. There’s the reward.” The encampment portrayed a wide array of time periods, from a World War II German camp to colonial times and Revolutionary War soldiers from both sides of the field to French and Indian War time period with authentic Native American camps and tents. Schmid, dressed completely in traditional frontier explorer attire in the Native American camp area, said he was portraying and studying Champlain, the founder of Quebec. “In dealing with both royalty and the colonials, and keeping everyone happy… His story was amazing,” Schmid said of Champlain. “So many heroes of the past, they turned out to be ordinary, nondescript people who just stepped up.” Encampment visitors Robert and Cammi Adams and their children know this better than most. Their family travels to all kinds of reenactments, and appreciate this one is locally based, and covers more than one time period. One of the kids went to the encampment as a class trip Friday, so the family decided to make the trip out the following day. Exploring the German World War II campsite in the encampment, Cammi said she has been all over the world, including a […]

Hyser Rivers Museum offers peek into the past

September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

Take a trip back in time and share Plainfield Charter Township history with a tour of the historic Hyser House Museum, 6440 West River Drive (next to Grand Rogue Campground and Paddlesports). The museum is open annually the weekend of the Grand Rogue Living History Encampment (at the campground). The museum will be open Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. A crafter will demonstrate from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Reenactors rough it out through rainy weekend

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

  The 24th annual Grand Rogue Military Encampment has been cancelled in the past due to extreme flooding, but this year’s event was a little soggy due to rain showers. A historic bonanza of knowledge and authentic clothes and equipment showed visitors what life was like before electricity, both in military reenactment and family settings. The event takes place each year at Grand Rogue Campground on West River Drive, and many repeat participants show what life was like from the time of the French and Indian War in the 1700s on up through the centuries. To find out more, visit        

Two hundred years of living history free to see this week

September 16, 2010 // 0 Comments

History all the way back to the French and Indian War in the 1750s will come alive this Saturday and Sunday with the 24th year of the Grand Rogue Military Encampment at the Grand Rogue Campgrounds, 6400 West River Drive. The event is free to the public and hopefully raises as much curiosity as it answers questions. Reenactor Mike DeJonge said participants take pride in being as authentic as possible and many artifacts are the real thing. They look forward to sharing their passion about our past. “A lot of people are fascinated with Civil War reenacting because it was a war between ourselves,” DeJonge stated. “It was the first modern war, the first war with photographs.” He said many people have family members in the Civil War. Young and old will be invited to participate in several demonstrations, including the proper use of a bayonet. Some traders bring items to sell, hard candy, utensils, spoons and pots. Items for sale vary as participants don’t like to offer the same things year after year. DeJonge said he has been a participant for just under two decades and has always been a fan of American history. “History drew me in. What clothes did they wear, what gear, how to start a fire without a match,” he said. “We are so used to electricity. Try using flint and steel to make a shower of sparks to start a fire. How do you bake a pie over a fire without an oven. It’s not just about military, it’s about life.” He said demonstrations may include blacksmiths who show how iron was worked, woodworkers who demonstrate how they made wood into furniture without power tools. Surveyors, an historically important profession, also have a story to tell and are happy to at the encampment. They can explain how Michigan’s townships were measured out with lengths of chain carried on foot across the entire face of the state. Many important men in history were surveyors, including George Washington, Abe Lincoln and many others. Children, and adults, can “play at soldier” by taking part in musket demonstrations. Throughout the day there are demonstrations of fights on horseback and on foot between settlers and native Americans. The guns aren’t loaded with bullets but […]

Our nation’s history comes to life this weekend

September 17, 2009 // 0 Comments

BATTLES AND EVERYDAY LIFE—will be featured during the two-day historic reenactment held this Saturday and Sunday. The reenactment covers Colonial times through the present and includes civilian and military demonstrations. What was it like to cook dinner over an open fire, carve your own utensils and tools, or fight in a battle in the woods? Find out this Saturday, September 19, and Sunday, September 20 at the Grand Rogue Living History Encampment at Grand Rogue Campground, 6400 West River Drive. The event will feature historical camps, military drills and skirmishes, and everyday life and military demonstrations from the colonial days through World War II. Admission is free to see authentically dressed men, women and children. Participants have invested around $1,000 for their gear, and thousands of hours of research to perfect their portrayals. Many have participated or been consultants for historic movies and documentaries, such as “The Last of the Mohicans” and the award-winning History channel series “Frontier: Legends of the Old Northwest.” Mike DeJonge, reenactor, said there are many interesting facts of history that we simply don’t have time to learn. His passion is the founding fathers. He stated it is a little-known fact that George Washington started the French and Indian War, which became a world war. He said favorites of the event include firing of a replica Revolutionary War cannon, military drills, calvary drills, blacksmithing and woodworking with hand tools. Demonstrations take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., but the event is open until 9 p.m. on Saturday. On that night, the cannon is fired off at 9 p.m. “It’s really something to see that thing shot off at night,” DeJonge said. He said it is also fun to watch people doing everyday chores without the benefit of modern technology. “My wife is doing stew in big pots over a campfire, sometimes she bakes pies over the campfire. Some people cook ribs or whole pigs. We are so used to our modern things, it’s hard to imagine that you can get along without all them.” He said another interesting group are reenactors of surveyors, who actually have the authentic tools that were actually used in the 1820s and 1830s. “Before Michigan became a state they literally had to mark out the […]

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