Soldiers representing different countries and eras as far back as Roman times shopped at vendor tables for costumes and accessories among Renaissance women and World War I nurses at the 10th annual Military History Fest Saturday at Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles.
Formerly known as Re-enactor Fest, more than 1,500 people are expected to attend the festival according to Mike Bollow, director and creator of the festival.
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About 250 vendor tables filled with helmets and caps, military clothing, uniform pins and patches, bolts of fabric and patterns for handmade costumes were among the items available for sale. There was even a booth selling facial hair and hair pieces for men and women.
Bollow, an Aurora resident, has been a re-enactor since 2002. A history buff since he was a kid, he portrays three different personas, including a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars, a British soldier in the American Revolution, and -- his favorite -- a World War II British fighter pilot.
He created the convention after realizing there wasn't anything like it around. The variety of eras and types of re-enactors is what makes the event appealing.
"We get to see everybody from all time periods," said George Bruckert of Lisle, who was portraying a 1943 U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot.
"For a history junkie, this is the place to be," said Jennifer Walker of Windsor, Ontario, a re-enactor for 17 years who was portraying a World War I Canadian nurse.
"This is an opportunity to show off something different with people that have interest in it and can respect it and understand it," said Dave Fornell, who has been a re-enactor for 25 years. The Elgin resident was portraying a French infantry soldier from 1915.
The festival continues 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20; kids under 15 are free. For more information, visit militaryhistoryfest.com.