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Havre de Grace's War of 1812 committee to throw New Year's Eve fundraiser

In an effort to raise funds for the city's commemoration of the War of 1812 next year, Havre de Grace's bicentennial planning committee is throwing a festive New Year's Eve party.

"In the efforts to bring a three-day festival in Havre de Grace to commemorate the bicentennial of the involvement in the War of 1812, Main Street President Billee Smith, along with the War of 1812 committee, will kick the New Year off with an event to be held at the Havre de Grace community Center," read a press release from Havre de Grace tourism manager Brigitte Peters.

The event will be 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Havre de Grace Visitor Center, Distinctive Décor, Java by the Bay, Amanda's Flowers and Glyph Design in Havre de Grace. Tickets are also available at Preston's Stationary in Bel Air.

Hors d'oeuvres will be served, beer and wine will be available for purchase, as well as raffle items, a money wheel and other games.

"The evening will bring awareness to the bicentennial of the city's involvement in the War of 1812," the release continued, "and the events to be held to commemorate the attack on Havre de Grace."

During the War of 1812, Havre de Grace was attacked by the British on May 3, 1813.

American Lieutenant John O'Neill helped defend the town and, in gratitude, was appointed as keeper of the Concord Point lighthouse by President John Quincy Adams in 1827.

Lt. O'Neill served as keeper until his death in 1838 and four generations of the family served as keepers of the lighthouse.

Still in the planning stages, the commemoration events will take place over the weekend of May 3 – the city's traditional Havre de Grace Decoy Festival Weekend - and include many reenactments and exhibits in the city's museums.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the county to be involved in a bicentennial celebration," Peters said. "It's our history."

Everything will kick off with the regular First Fridays event, with drink specials and people in costumes portraying actual Havre de Grace citizens during that time period.

On Saturday, Havre de Grace will have a reenactment of the British invasion with barges washing up on the city's shore near the lighthouse.

Skirmishes will be portrayed throughout the city, including St. John's Church.

"The British did a lot of looting," Peters pointed out, "they took everything out of these buildings."

In addition, there will be a flag ceremony at the lighthouse, the public can participate in the Red Coat Run 5K and there will be a free concert Saturday night that will end with the 1812 Overture and a fireworks display.

On Saturday and Sunday, tall ships will offer tours to the public.

The bicentennial committee is hoping to raise $3,000 to $4,000 from the New Year's Eve party and an additional $15,000 to $20,000.

The committee has applied for grant money and hopes that opportunity will come through so the city can put on a wonderful celebration.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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