Still Seeking Mr. Darcy? He might be in Spencerville, breaking a Guinness World Record

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Waiting Mr. Darcy? Look for him at the Heritage Fair in Spencerville, Ontario June 1-3. English country dancing, gentlemen in Red Coats, and rowdy 1812 elections are all part of this unique event.

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Why just watch a reenactment when you can participate?

What Janeite doesn't secretly dream of meeting Mr. Darcy?

The War of 1812 Bicentennial is making the aim of Jane Austen fans that much more achievable. Well, at least the anniversary of the conflict is increasing the chances of meeting someone that resembles Mr. Darcy.

Take the Bicentennial Heritage Fair for example. On June 2, the denizens of Spencerville are inviting people to help break the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed in Regency period clothing.

Surely there will be a gentleman or two akin to Mr. Darcy in that crowd.

The current record is 409, held by the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England.

With a base of one hundred volunteers dressed in period clothing, plus re-enactors and other participants, the organizers of the Spencerville Mill's Heritage Fair believe they will set a new record.

Beyond record-setting attempts, the Bicentennial Heritage Fair offers the history traveller an experience unlike any other.

Bringing history to life is all about acting and creating - a process very few people are able to enjoy in daily life. The Heritage Fair offers a unique opportunity to do both in a living theatre environment, where everyone can have a role - even spectators, if you insist.

The village has raised its own militia, which will continue to recruit throughout the Heritage Fair on June 1, 2 and 3.

Voting in early Upper Canada was a full-contact sport, played only by men. Experience the rowdiness of politics in 1812 with an election re-enactment, as Tory and Reform candidates battle over the impending war with the U.S., wolf bounties, the provision of schools and teachers, and building roads. Bribes are allowed.

Odds of encountering Mr. Darcy are improved with the addition of English Country Dancing throughout the Heritage Fair weekend, culminating in a dance with live music and a period ball. All dancing will be held at the historic town hall in Spencerville.

Helping engage people in living history, the Heritage Fair will also feature free talks on Friday June 1 by leading War of 1812 historians, including Major John Grodzinski, Donald and Dianne Graves and Victor Suthren.

Other period fun over the Heritage Fair weekend includes:

  • 1812 Military Surgery
  • Antiques Appraisals
  • An Evening Skirmish over a bridge
  • Wife Sales
  • Historic Tours
  • Women of 1812 Vignettes
  • Wampum Belt presentations and Akwesasne Travel Troupe performances
  • Cricket Games
  • Heritage Crafts Demonstrations
  • Music & More

Why just watch a re-enactment when you can participate?

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Alicia Wanless
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