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Great Trail Festival opens this weekend

| August 25, 2023
The 45th installment of the Great Trail Festival is Aug. 26-27 and Sept. 2-4 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Great Trail Bison Reserve near Malvern. (Great Trail Festival)

MALVERN (WJER) (Aug. 25, 2023) – History will come to life the next two weekends at the Great Trail Bison Reserve.

Hundreds of costumed re-enactors and merchants have set up camp there for the 45th installment of the Great Trail Festival. Founder Gary Juwell says it’s a massive celebration of life during the French and Indian War complete with artillery demonstrations and daily battle re-enactments.    

“There’s a black powder shoot back in the far back of the French Quarter where the people that wanna shoot their black powder rifles, they have an impromptu contest back there that they call a blanket shoot. And we have canon firing demonstrations. They do that three times a day – in the morning, in the middle of the day, and at closing.”

The festival takes place over five days – this weekend and next from 10 am to 5 pm – wrapping up on Labor Day. Juwell says there’s a lot to take in including authentic food, games, and musical entertainment.

“We have a country band that plays, and the pipers perform, and then we have the Cedar Valley Clog Dancers that put on two performances, so yeah, there’s always some activity and music and things going on.”

The Great Trail Bison Reserve is located at 6331 Canton Road Northwest. Festival admission is $7 for adults, $5 for youth ages 12 to 18, and younger kids get in for free. 

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