Reenactors In Wool Brave Heat And Humidity At Strawbery Banke American Celebration

Jul 4, 2013

The Salem Trayned Band shows off their Pike drill at the Strawbery Banke Museum on July 4
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

  The Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth was bustling on Thursday with its annual 4th of July American Celebration. 

Crowds are gathered around a lemonade vendor, dolling out plastic cups covered in condensation. Nearby, the doors of restored historic houses have been flung open, and visitors go inside for shade.

But in the middle of the square, 5 men line up with 16 foot spears.  They are covered head to toe in heavy wool costumes.  Andie Volpe of the Salem Traynd Band says they drove up for the day from Massachusetts to demonstrate wooden pikes that colonial militias used in the 1630s.

So it’s like a bulldozer with sharp pointy things, and men on horseback, the knights, they’re running after you with pistols, trying to shoot at you, so if you keep the horses away, it gives time for the muskateers to load their weapons and fire at the knights -- they can shoot through armor.

Other activities at the museum include bubble gum blowing contests, and an apple pie raffle. 

The event was made free for children with funding from BAE Systems, an multinational defense contractor located in Nashua.