For the most current information, the public is invited to log on to the event website www.RaidersandInvaders.com , which will be continually updated with details about this once in a lifetime experience.
The event is part of the State of Maryland’s War of 1812 Chesapeake Campaign – a year of bicentennial events and activities that follow the 1814 British push up the Chesapeake and Patuxent to Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Though there were few battles in Southern Maryland, the British continually harassed coastline residents and subsequently invaded the tiny Town of Leonardtown – population approximately 300. But victory was not as easy as it seemed. The Town residents convinced the British commander with his force of 1,500 not to burn the courthouse, but to move on out of town. And that, say event organizers, is worth commemorating. The Weekend kicks off with Raiders & Invaders First Friday, which builds upon the town’s established First Friday tradition, showing they’ve come a long way in 200 years. Highlights include the music and story concert: 1812, Tide of War, art gallery openings and a variety of 1812-themed activities provided by shops, restaurants and the Port of Leonardtown Winery. The past comes to life at the free main festival in downtown Leonardtown on Saturday. Visitors will delight in a wide range of musical styles - from the Ships’ Company Chanteymen to ilyAMI, story-telling by Ming Diaz, traditional circus arts by Old Bay Circus, and much more. Throughout the upper town, there will also be street theater produced by the Newtowne Players, arts activities, 1812-related exhibits and lectures, and historical demonstrations, including spinning, lace-making, blacksmithing, and artillery drills. Along Leonardtown’s waterfront, visitors can see Chesapeake Bay-built work boats and climb aboard for an invasion route excursion. Beer, wine and local favorites like seafood and stuffed ham will be available for purchase, as well as hand-crafted items to take home. After attending the daytime festivities, visitors can enjoy an evening of free music right at the site of the 1814 British invasion. Musician Justin Myles opens the evening followed by The British Invasion Tribute who will perform songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who and more. Everyone is invited back on Sunday to experience the rich history and culture of the entire St. Mary's peninsula. Visitors can stay over Saturday night in one of St. Mary’s County’s many inns or hotels and, in the morning, prepare to see all that the county has to offer. Sunday activities will include gourmet brunches, wine tastings, and 1812-related events at sites and attractions like Sotterley Plantation.
As a further incentive, guests attending the Friday or Saturday events may pick up a commemorative passport, which serves as a mini-guide with information about the weekend and St. Mary’s County attractions. The passport also offers free admission to participating sites on Sunday plus a chance to enter a sweepstakes drawing. The Raiders & Invaders Steering Committee is made up of local organizations and community stakeholders, including the Leonardtown Business Association, College of Southern Maryland, Historic Sotterley and the St. Mary’s County Historical Society.
The committee is seeking partners, sponsors, volunteers and others to help produce or be part of the County’s signature War of 1812 event. For more information on how to get involved, contact the St. Mary’s County Division of Tourism at 301-475-4200 X4203 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Event Information Contacts: Andrew M. Ponti, Tourism Coordinator, St. Mary’s County Tourism: 301-475-4200 X1404 or Andrew.Ponti@stmarysmd.com Maria Fleming, Leonardtown Event Coordinator: 301-475-9791 or email@example.com