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updated: 2/1/2014 6:33 PM

Military History Fest marks 10 years in St. Charles

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  • John Flegel works at a makeshift desk as his son, Jacob, sits atop an authentic 1943 Half-Track Diamond T armored vehicle at the Military History Fest Saturday. The pair from Michigan City, Ind., were part of the forward command center encampment of the Fifth Armored Division. The group has about 80 members and this is the third year members have exhibited. They are wearing white to blend in with snowy surroundings during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 in Belgium.

       John Flegel works at a makeshift desk as his son, Jacob, sits atop an authentic 1943 Half-Track Diamond T armored vehicle at the Military History Fest Saturday. The pair from Michigan City, Ind., were part of the forward command center encampment of the Fifth Armored Division. The group has about 80 members and this is the third year members have exhibited. They are wearing white to blend in with snowy surroundings during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 in Belgium.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Clothing, helmets, patches, and thousands of other accessories from all time eras are at the 250 vendor booths at the Military History Fest at the Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles on Saturday. The show continues Sunday.

       Clothing, helmets, patches, and thousands of other accessories from all time eras are at the 250 vendor booths at the Military History Fest at the Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles on Saturday. The show continues Sunday.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • George Bruckert of Lisle portrays a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot from 1943 in the Solomon Islands at the Military History Fest at the Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles on Saturday. A re-enactor since 1987, he has 12 outfits, four of which he brought to wear at the event.

       George Bruckert of Lisle portrays a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot from 1943 in the Solomon Islands at the Military History Fest at the Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles on Saturday. A re-enactor since 1987, he has 12 outfits, four of which he brought to wear at the event.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Wearing one of the first versions of a World War I gas mask, Dave Fornell of Elgin portrays a French infantry soldier, circa 1915, at the Military History Fest at the Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles. He has been a military re-enactor or for 25 years. This type of soldier is a "poilu," the French equivalent to a U.S. doughboy.

       Wearing one of the first versions of a World War I gas mask, Dave Fornell of Elgin portrays a French infantry soldier, circa 1915, at the Military History Fest at the Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center in St. Charles. He has been a military re-enactor or for 25 years. This type of soldier is a "poilu," the French equivalent to a U.S. doughboy.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

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.

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