Top 22 living history events this year
Our list of some of the best living history events happening across the country this year draws from many different regions and eras.
If you have a favorite that belongs on this list, please let us know in the comments below.
Ice Harvest Festival
February 1, 2020
East Meredith, New York
Each year on the first Saturday of February, Hanford Mills Museum celebrates this rural tradition with the Ice Harvest Festival. Using historic tools and techniques, visitors can cut and manoeuvre blocks of ice from the Mill Pond, and then transport the blocks to the ice house by sled. Food, demonstrations, bonfires, and vendors round out a day of hands-on history and winter fun. Find more information here.
Commemoration and Reenactment of the Boston Massacre 2020
March 7, 2020
Old State House, Boston, MA
Witness this infamous event, authentically recreated in front of the Old State House by living historians. Before the action unfolds, hear patriots, loyalists, and moderates talk about the events and attitudes that led to that fateful night. Find more information here.
Living History Weekend
March 28 - 29, 2020
College Station, Texas
Texas’s largest living history event features fully restored and operational military vehicles, a military swap meet, historic small arms demonstration, a chance to ride a UH-1 Bell Iroquois helicopter and shoot a 75mm Pack Howitzer, battle reenactments and a junior G.I. zone for the young ones. Family friendly. Find more information here.
Living History at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine
April 4 - 5, 2020
Spend the weekend learning about day the medical history of America’s bloodiest conflict. Dressed as members of the Confederate medical department and armed with period medical equipment, members of the Blue and Gray Hospital Association brings a unique perspective to understanding the conflict. Find more information here.
Inter-colonial Wars: French and Indian War Encampment
May 2 - 3, 2020
The Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire
Reenactors personify British and French troops as they gather and recreate the sights and sounds of the French and Indian War. Included in this two-day event are tactical battle reenactments, 18th-century style camp cooking, baking in beehive oven, blacksmithing, textile production, and joinery. Find more information here.
Thanks to Peter Woodbury for recommending this living history event.
Civil War Remembrance
May 23, 2020
Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan
On Memorial Day weekend, honor the sacrifices and achievements of the 3 million people who fought in America’s Civil War in Greenfield Village. Join hundreds of Union and Confederate reenactors, civilians, musicians and historic presenters and learn more about this pivotal time in American history through various exhibits, presentations, battle tactics demonstration, hands-on activities and insights from historians. Find more information here.
Unto These Hills
May 30 - August 15, 2020
Cherokee, North Carolina
Unto These Hills is back, now with extra drama. Written by the late American playwright Kermit Hunter, Unto These Hills retells the sufferings of the Cherokee tribe over the course of 300 years. This live, outdoor production takes place every Monday through Saturday evening at 8 pm. The theatre is closed on Sundays. Find more information here.
Annual 1940’s WWII Era Ball
June 20, 2020
Boulder Airport, Boulder, Colorado
Relive the swing era with this 1940’s WWII Era Ball. Featuring Circa-World War II vehicles, planes and reenactors, a hangar replicating Rick’s Cafe Americain with belly dancers and a roulette table you can play on. Watch performances from Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Hollywood’s Satin Dollz & the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Cap off the night in authentic 1940’s style with a radio announcement proclaiming the end of the war complete with a confetti drop and celebration! Find more information here.
June 13, 2020
1850 Pioneer Farm, Urbandale, Iowa
Visit the 1850 Pioneer farm and experience how weddings are done during Iowa’s time of settlement. Discover the most popular gifts for a pioneer bride, help in the “shivaree”, play a good-natured and very noisy prank on the wedding couple, test your dancing skills and share in refreshments of cake and lemonade. Find more informaion here.
Battle of Carillon Commemoration
July 8, 2020
Fort Ticonderoga, New York
Remember the day-long battle where the British had suffered casualties of nearly 2,000 men killed and wounded. See why the Battle of Carillon would prove to be France’s greatest victory of the French & Indian War and stand on the very ground where French soldiers entrenched themselves during the epic Battle of Carillon on July 8, 1758. Find more information here.
Green River Rendezvous Days
July 9 - 12, 2020
Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale, Wyoming
Over the course of the four days, 100+ vendors will close streets and fill parks with food, live music, beer, entertainment and more to celebrate the legendary explorers, fur trappers, and Native Americans who opened commerce in the American West. From visits to the Museum of the Mountain Man that bestows Jim Bridger's rifle to the return of the Green River Rendezvous Pageant and nightly rodeos. Cultural events will be in high supply. Find more information here.
American Independence Festival
July 18, 2020
Exeter, New Hampshire
Enjoy a recreation of the 1776 delivery of NH’s copy of the Declaration of Independence with a costumed rider, hecklers, and more. Visitors can roam the museum’s grounds to see colonial living in action, learn to muster, play colonial games, and more. Stroll down to Swasey Parkway where cannons boom and British and Patriot Militia encampments are stationed. Find more information here.
Pioneer Life Week
July 20 - July 26, 2020
Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill, Kentucky
A full week dedicated to the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the settlement of lands around the Ohio River. Historical programs such as tomahawk throwing, black powder rifle demonstration, spinning and weaving, 18th century poultry care, primitive fire making, atlatl demonstration, pioneer clothing interpretation, flint knapping, old time machinery, woodcarving and other life skill demonstrations are scheduled throughout the week. Find more information here.
The Sound of 1776
July 25, 2020
Ticonderoga, New York
Experience the rousing sounds of the Fifes & Drums which hoisted the spirits of an American Army in 1776! Through musical concerts, living history vignettes and weapon demonstrations, discover the story of the Northern Continental Army, which rebuilt itself at Ticonderoga beginning in July 1776. See rebellion transform into a war for independence as the Declaration of Independence officially reached troops digging in to defend Ticonderoga. Find more information here.
Redcoats and Rebels
August 1 - 2, 2020
Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
The largest military re-enactment in New England with nearly 1,000 soldiers portraying British, Irish, Spanish, Scottish, French and Colonial troops. Come see what it was really like for those who fought to win America’s freedoms. Activities include mock battles and skirmishes, tours of the British and American camps, training and cannon demonstrations, musket drilling with kids, help with camp laundry, 18th-century baseball and many more. Find more information here.
Thanks to Peter Woodbury for recommending this living history event.
The 54th Annual Goschenhoppen Folk Festival
August 7 - 8, 2020
Experience authentic German Folklife in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over 500 volunteers are dressed in period clothing. Witness the use of authentic tools to recreate traditional home skills, trades, pastimes, foods, and folk music. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a day in Goschenhoppen. Find more information here.
Battle for the Airfield
October 10 - 11, 2020
A WWII reenactment and WWII Veterans round table discussion with over 300 re-enactors representing several branches of Allied and Axis military participating in an amazing re-enactment. Fully restored military equipment of all kinds will be on display and participating in a dynamic educational living history event. Some of the vintage equipment includes tanks, cannons, troop carriers, half tracks, aircraft and support supplies. Find more information here.
Colonial Living Week 2020
October 13 - 16, 2020
Raleigh, North Carolina
Take a journey into North Carolina's past with costumed interpreters demonstrating life in the 18th century backcountry. Students will observe a variety of colonial demonstrations including toys and games, blacksmithing, cooking, colonial militia and much more! Find more information here.
Colonial Times: A Day to Remember
October 17 - 28, 2020
Living History Park, North Augusta, South Carolina
Experience the colonial past come to life through demonstrations and living exhibits. Featured attractions include horn smithing, pottery, a tomahawk throw, butter churning, weaving and spinning, quilting, candle making, scrimshaw, pewterer, musket firing demonstrations, calligraphy, gunsmithing, blacksmithing, woodworking, and meat smoking and curing. Find more information here.
The 247th Anniversary Boston Tea Party Reenactment
December 16, 2020
Old South Meeting House, Boston, Massachusetts
Relive one of the most iconic public protest in American history at Old South Meeting House, the actual historic landmark where the colonists met in 1773. Witness the debate over tea tax and demand for liberty from the British crown.Then join the procession to Griffin’s Wharf and witness the destruction of the tea as the Sons of Liberty storm the Brig Beaver. Find more information here.
December 25, 2020
Delaware River, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
On Christmas day, join thousands gather on the banks of the Delaware River to listen to an inspiring speech by Gen. George Washington and watch as they row across the river in replica Durham boats. Those who cannot attend on Christmas can watch a full dress rehearsal about two and a half weeks before the Christmas Day Crossing. Find more information here.
If you have a favorite that belongs on this list, please let us know in the comments below. And if you're looking for a special gift for a history lover, check out our store, which is what funds the operation and expansion of The History List. You'll find shirts and stickers with our original design, special commemorative shirts, and signed books by noted historians.