The streets of Havre de Grace were filled with visitors Saturday, who took in not only the re-enactment of the battle, but two tall ships docked along the city's waterfront – the Pride of Baltimore II and the Sultana – the 32nd Annual Decoy and Wildlife Art Festival at Havre de Grace Middle School and an evening ceremony at the Concord Lighthouse grounds.
The ceremony included a performance by The Columbia Orchestra and a fireworks show over the Susquehanna River.
Downtown merchants threw their doors open to visitors Saturday.
Spectators could also see Harford County students portray residents of Havre de Grace circa 1813.
Drama students performed monologues as people from the period.
One student, Laurel Yau, a junior at C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air, performed a monologue as Matilda O'Neill, the daughter of Havre de Grace defender John O'Neill.
John O'Neill, an Irish immigrant, was a local merchant and an officer in the militia at the time of the invasion, according to a copy of an article published in The Artilleryman Magazine in 2002 and provided by Yau.
He is famous for single-handedly manning a battery at Concord Point in an unsuccessful attempt to hold of the British troops.
He was later captured and brought on board a British ship in the river. Locals expected he would be executed, but Matilda, according to legend, rowed out to the ship and convinced Admiral George Cockburn to free him.
Yau-as-Matilda told onlookers Cockburn was so impressed with her courage, he presented her with his snuffbox.
Kevin Connelly, of Bloomfield, Conn., who The Aegis caught up with at the annual Havre de Decoy festival early Saturday evening, had watched the British invasion earlier in the day. The decoy festival was also held over the weekend.
"It's historically interesting, and you think, also of the people who lived here, all of a sudden seeing the British landing, burning houses, stealing things – looting basically — and then moving through the city," Connelly said.
"How does an Afghan village feel when the Taliban comes there, or we [the U.S.] come there?" Connelly continued. "People are typically frightened by armed strangers."
Although organizers had expected as many as 10,000 visitors on Saturday, the actual number came in at between 5,000 and 6,000, according to county emergency operations officials who monitored the weekend events for security purposes.
Harford County government spokesman Bob Thomas said that the sheriff's office, city police department, county executive's office, fire and EMS officials and emergency services had staff on duty throughout Saturday at the county's emergency operations center and well as in Havre de Grace. There were no incidents reported, he said.