By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Scores of people filled Ford Field Aug. 29 an 30 to attend the We Humble Ourselves, Turning a Nation Back to God festival with re-enactments, an orchestra and choir celebrating the nation’s history.
“We’re really happy with the turnout over the two days,” event director Mary Bustamante said of the approximately 200 attendees. “Everyone is happy people decided to brave the possible rain and join us for the event.”
Bustamante said the idea for the festival came to her when she was praying in church in May.
“We need to bring people together and focus on the good things in our nation’s history,” she said.
The festival included re-enactors dressed up from the 18th and 19th centuries telling the stories of those who lived during those eras.
Re-enactor Peter Podoski of Dearborn played the role of William Bradford, founder of the Plymouth colony.
“I was excited when this festival was announced in Dearborn because I am a native,” he said. “Playing the role of William is special because he played a big part of America’s history.”
Attendees were guided through an exploration of the lives of the country’s ancestors.
The event began with the arrival of Europeans in the New World, then to the Founding Fathers era, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and finally the Civil War.
“I’m interested in history and am taking classes at Henry Ford College to major in the subject,” attendee Hussein Haidar of Dearborn said. “This festival is special because it uses re-enactors to teach people about America’s past. I love it so far.”
Re-enactors of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment also were in attendance at the festival. Their tents, clothing and equipment demonstrated the life of those living in the 1600s and 1700s.
The Jamestown Settlement tent showed a family of four eating cheese around a small table discussing their day.
“It’s really cool to see re-enactments from the different eras in American history,” Rose Johnson of Dearborn Heights said. “I brought my children so they can learn where the roots of America come from.”
In the Revolutionary War-British tents, British soilders told stories from war while women cooked food with multiple boilers over a fire.
A tent filled with wooden toys and boxes from Ralph Babcock’s collection also were on display. The boxes and toys made in traditional style with pegs and glue showed how an 18th century artisan created the items.
The field hospital tent had re-enactor Henry Trippe play Dr. Alexander Potts speaking and demonstrating how doctors would cure soldiers and their injuries during wars.
“An event like this is exciting to be a part of,” he said. “I love educating attendees about the methods and equipment doctors used before all of the technology we have today.”
The 50-piece orchestra was led by the Rev. Eduard Perrone, conductor of Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit.
The 100-voice choir had Ann Arbor, Flint and Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra bass player Gregg Emerson Powell and Divine Child Catholic Church Director of Music Ministry Matthew Simpson as its choir director.
Both performed patriotic songs, such as “America, the Beautiful,” “My Country, Tis of Thee” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” to keep with the festival’s theme.
“We hope with the success of the festival over these two days that other cities will host the event in the future,” Bustamante said.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)