OSAWATOMIE — Battle reenactments, a tomahawk throwing demonstration and historical depictions await attendees of Osawatomie’s annual Freedom Festival.
The weekend festival Sept. 21-22 is a living history event that organizers say will provide a window into the region’s Civil War/Border War history. The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday in John Brown Memorial Park, located at 10th and Main streets in Osawatomie.
This year’s festival will feature a larger contingent of mountain men, said Grady Atwater, site administrator of the John Brown Museum and State Historic Site at the park.
“There will be two groups of mountain men this year, and a tomahawk throwing demonstration,” Atwater said. “We try to include something a little different each year.”
Saturday, Sept. 21
Activities will include a reenactment of the Battle of Middle Creek at 11 a.m., a Border War scenario at 2 p.m., and a reenactment of the Battle of Osawatomie at 4 p.m. A special night firing of Civil War artillery will take place at dusk.
Saturday’s lineup also will feature a presentation by Mary Buster, the great-great-granddaughter of Florella Adair, John Brown’s half-sister. The presentation, “Florella Brown Adair: Living in the Shadow of John Brown,” will begin at noon.
Then at 2 p.m., the Marais des Cygnes Plainsmen mountain man group will provide a tomahawk throwing demonstration. Kerry Altenbrand will follow the demonstration with a portrayal of John Brown.
Sunday, Sept. 22
The Osawatomie Ministerial Alliance will conduct a church service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, and the Band of Oz will perform patriotic and Civil War-era music at noon. Spring Leaf will perform Civil War and frontier folk music at 3 p.m.
A POW/MIA ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, with both the American Legion and Elliot’s Scouts reenactors participating.
Attendees also will have a chance to hear family stories and take tours of the Adair Cabin with Mary Buster on both days. Festival goers also can visit two mountain man camps.
Food and beverage offerings will be provided by Lantern Coffee Company, First Presbyterian Church of Osawatomie, the Well Wesleyan Church of Osawatomie, and other vendors.
Atwater encouraged families to come to the festival both days and immerse themselves in a critical period in the history of Osawatomie and the region.