Every year, on Memorial Day weekend, a special “Feast of the Ste Claire committee” in Port Huron puts together and presents a living re-enactment of 18th century life. This Open to the Public event consists of over 600 re-enactors with more than 100 colonial style camps set up in beautiful Pine Grove Park (on the St Clair river) in Port Huron, Michigan. This year’s Feast (May 2016) will be the 36th consecutive year for this very informative and educational event.
The Feast of the Ste. Claire recreates and demonstrates the four periods of early Michigan history in the Blue Water area. These periods are represented at the Feast by four camps – depicting Native Americans, French explorers, British traders, and American revolutionaries. Historic hobbyists from all over the Great Lakes Area attend this event, recreating living history with their displays. Staying in their historic, time period camps, these re-enactors provide an example of the daily life style of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. There are ongoing demonstrations of early American living, cooking, crafts, and activities. The many Merchants and Traders of the Feast have a large variety of colonial style items and foods for sale. Period musicians, string bands, and street hawkers provide atmosphere and fun throughout the day. Saturday evening features a Candlelight Tour of the encampment followed by an early American Colonial Dance. The Feast is a not-for-profit entity and it is entirely open to the public. A small admission fee is charged, with all proceeds from this event going to help promote and support the activities happening within the Feast itself. The Feast derives its name from the fact that the early 16th century French explorers discovered a Lake and a River on the Catholic Feast day of Saint Clare (French Ste Claire). In those days it was customary to name important discoveries in honor of saints – hence Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River got named. Our present day re-enactment also derived its name from this important discovery.
For its first 33 years, the “Feast of the Ste Claire” pre-event startup expenses have been covered by the Port Huron Museum – approximately $2,000 each year. In return, excess funds raised by the event each year were given back to the Museum – this amounted to total of well over $200,000 during this period. In July of last year the Museum expressed a desire to separate itself from the Feast. Consequently an emergency meeting was held by the Feast Committee during which it was determined that the Feast’s annual event could continue without the support of the Museum. A “Not for Profit” corporation “The Feast of the Ste Clair, LLC” was created under IRS Section 501© with the stated mission “The purpose of this non-profit corporation shall be to educate the public in the history of the Great Lakes Area by staging historic presentations”. The Museum allowed the Feast to retain most of its equipment (tents and other items needed and used by the event each year) with the exception of the large trailer that was used for storage. The one critical thing the Feast did lose, however, was our source for pre-event startup money. For the most part this problem has been solved thanks to the generosity of friends and supporters of the Feast in providing Grants and Donations to help us get it going last year. Some additional financial help is still needed, however, and if you would like to contribute please contact Harry Burgess (Feast Committee Chairman) at 810 841-6412. Additionally, this year, the Feast Committee is preparing a Special 35th Anniversary Souvenir booklet containing stories, recipes, remedies, and other tales pertaining to the period the Feast depicts. This booklet will be on sale at this year’s event. Advertising contained within it does help contribute to the Feast’s annual startup costs, if you are interested in advertising in this booklet please visit the link to “Feast Booklet Advertising” on the Feast’s Home page or contact Larry Jones (Feast Publicity) at 810 987-8099.