History of the Soldier is Verde Valley's first Centennial eventJuly 19, 2011
4/5/2011 4:10:00 PM
CAMP VERDE – There was a time when Fort Verde celebrated Armed Forces Day.
But the idea of dressing in vintage woolen uniforms and standing about the fort’s parade grounds in the mid afternoon sun was more than uncomfortable for many of the re-enactors attending the event.
Some time back, it occurred to the fort staff that moving the event up a few weeks in the calendar would alleviate the heat stroke issue and perhaps increase attendance from both participant and visitor.
And in spite of having to change its name, the History of the Soldier event at Fort Verde has become one of the state park’s biggest events of the year, drawing re-enactors from throughout the Southwest and crowds from throughout the state.
This year’s History of the Soldier will be an official Arizona State Centennial event, although the word from the administration building is that the now famous “Copper Chopper” will not make the trip due to budget constraints.
Nevertheless, festivities begin on both Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10, with a 9 a.m. flag raising and continue through out the day. Friday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. has been set aside for local school children.
Among the activities on this year’s schedule are military drills, firearms demonstrations, a fashion show, 1880s church service, vintage baseball, games for the kids and some old-fashioned Dutch oven cooking.
Re-enactors will display their period authentic encampments, which depict virtually every American war period and will even include a soldier or two dressed in English uniform from the War of 1812 and a platoon of soviet soldiers in World War II uniforms (it is unknown if they will be dancing the Cossack’s dance).
Stations will be set up around the parade ground where visitors can learn about various aspects of early military life as well as the wife of a military wife.