Simon part of Fort Toulouse reenactments

Published 2:50 am Thursday, November 2, 2017

This weekend’s Frontier Days celebrate tricentennial

The people of Covington County may only know Chuck Simon as the county’s extension coordinator, but to Fort Toulouse-Jackson he is much more.

The Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Historic Site is a replica of the actual fort, and was built where the fort was said to have originally been, somewhere near Wetumpka.

Fort Toulouse is a look into the past, all the way back to 1717, to be exact, when it was a frontier outpost for the French. The fort acted as a commercial, religious and diplomatic center for the French from 1717 until 1763.

Simon has been reenacting for Fort Toulouse for 32 years.

“I got into reenactment when I just started college. I loved history so much, and one of my friends actually suggested reenactment,” Simon said, “I started reenacting shortly after, and haven’t stopped since.”

Simon participates in almost all of the events Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park offers, but the main event is Alabama Frontier Days.

Alabama Frontier Days is a four-day history reenactment centered on frontier life in the southeast during 1700-1820.

The days focus on the interactions between French soldiers and Creek Indians, highlighting the fur trade, and how the two different groups co-existed.

“I’ve always been interested in the fur trade, and fascinated with the way the Creek Indians and the French interacted,” Simon said.

“I love reenacting, and knowing that when I do, people learn more about the history,” Simon said.

This year’s Frontier Days started yesterday, and continues through Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. The public can experience this history as frontier trades and crafts are demonstrated by living historians in period clothing.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, special activities will include the unveiling of markers outlining a portion of the original 1717 fort. Also, a short dramatic presentation will bring to life the moment French marines first met the Alabama Indians.

Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park is operated by the Alabama Historical Commission and is located at 2521 West Fort Toulouse Road, two miles west of U.S. Highway 231. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for children (6-18 years old) and free for children under six.