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The Arsenal

By Kimberly Brown

History comes alive this Sunday in Huntington as the Order of the Ancient and Honorable Huntington Militia hosts a Colonial Market Fair on the grounds of the Arsenal museum on Park Avenue from noon to 5 p.m.

While the Arsenal remains closed for tours, families can enjoy outdoor Colonial demonstrations that will focus on civilian crafts such as leather and horn work, silversmithing, sewing, weaving, papermaking, and cooking, accompanied by 18th century music. 

“You’ll be able to see people doing these trades to make different crafts and then also be able to purchase the items that they basically made right in front of you,” said Patrick Mantle, Commander of the Huntington Militia. “These will be really unique items and there’s really nowhere else around here where you can get that experience.” 

Visitors can also walk across the street to the Village Green to watch artillerymen demonstrate the loading and firing of a full-scale reproduction 18th century field cannon while Men at Arms drill and fire 18th Century muskets throughout the day. 

Having a passion for history from a young age, Mantle always admired the Huntington Militia since he first saw them at a St. Patrick’s Day parade when he was four years old. Always wanting to be a significant part of the organization, Mantle’s dream was accomplished when he was promoted to Commander in 2016, only three years after joining.

“I was always the kid on the block who was marching around in a tricorne hat, wearing my father’s high socks and carrying my toy musket to emulate what a soldier would’ve looked like,” Mantle said. “Everyone would say ‘There goes Patrick again’ as I marched down the street with a flag.”

Since fourth grade Mantle knew he wanted to pursue a career in history, specifically studying the Revolutionary War. Taking a program focused on Revolutionary Era Studies while attending Siena College in Loudonville, New York aided Mantle in his knowledge when directing the reenactments. 

“For all of us, it’s a hobby but anyone that you’ll meet that’s a reenactor will say it’s a passion because we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t love it,” he said.

Seeing the reactions to the reenactments from families is one of Mantle’s favorite parts of the event, as seeing history come to life opens up a new world for visitors interested in learning about the history of America and Long Island.

“Even the adults who attend our events, listen to me talk, and see our demonstration will come up to me later to say they just learned more in 30 minutes than they did in all their years of school,” Mantle said.

The Huntington Militia’s Colonial Market Fair will be held at The Arsenal, 425 Park Avenue, Huntington on Sunday, July 11 from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to the event is free. In case of rain, the event will be held on July 18. 

The Huntington Militia will also be holding a virtual event on July 24 to discuss and celebrate Huntington’s Independence Day. Visit www.huntingtonmilitia.com or call 631-223-8017 for further details.

MEN-AT-ARMS: Members of the Huntington Militia held a colonial-era encampment at The Arsenal on Park Avenue in Huntington last Sunday, Oct. 14. The free event featured a tour of the 1740 building which was used to store grain until it became the home of Job Sammis and his family in 1748. It was expanded to accommodate weapons and gunpowder for the local militia during the American Revolution. Other activities included musket firing, colonial demonstrations and the loading and firing of a canon on the adjacent Village Green.

Photos by Heidi Sutton