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38th Annual
Living History


March 16-17, 2013

Sponsored By


“We Bring History Alive!”

Annual event to attract interest from throughout Midwest

About the Show:

More than 10,000 reenactors from the French and Indian through the Civil War, history buffs, collectors and the general public from 18 states and Canada are expected to attend Yankee Doodle Muzzle Loaders’ 38th annual Kalamazoo Living History Show.  The juried, nationally recognized show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17, 2013, at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.   The show attracts over 270 of the finest craftspeople and dealers of pre-1890 living history supplies and related crafts from throughout the United States.

The Kalamazoo Living History Show was created in 1976 to bring history alive and entertain as well as expose the general public to some of the most fascinating times in our history.  Each year the focus of the show changes allowing various historical re-enactment groups, organizations and individuals the opportunity to host the show and share their knowledge and enthusiasm of history with all of us.

Over the years, the Kalamazoo Living History Show has grown to be the largest juried event of its kind in the Midwest devoted to pre-1890 original or reproduction living history supplies and related crafts.  Of special interest to the whole family, crafts persons dressed in period clothing will be demonstrating various 18th and 19th Century crafts.  Turn back the clock and relive America’s days gone by.  Visit with people that make history come alive!  A show where historical reenactors in period fashions from Pre-Revolutionary through the Civil War, history buffs and the general public come together for a festive weekend to buy, sell and trade.  Anyone attending the show dressed in pre-1890 style clothing will be eligible for a drawing on a 4 point Witney Blanket at the close of the show each day.

The 38th Annual Kalamazoo Living History Show is open to the general public Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Admission is $7.00 for a single day, $10.00 for a weekend pass.  Children 12 years of age and under admitted free when accompanied by a parent.

For more information about the Kalamazoo Living History Show, contact Leslie Martin Conwell, P.O. Box 2214, West Lafayette, IN 47996, or telephone (765) 563-6792, email: kalamazoolivinghistoryshow@gmail.com.


Kalamazoo Living History Show Staff


Kathy Atwell

Kathy Atwell currently serves as the Executive Director of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association in Lafayette, Indiana. The association operates several sites- Fort Ouiatenon Historical Park, the Tippecanoe Battlefield, the Moses Fowler House, and an active library and genealogical research center. TCHA sponsors the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, a recreation of life at the 18th century French outpost Fort Ouiatenon, now in its 42nd year. Kathy has been involved with the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon for eighteen years, as a volunteer and as a staff member. She has a professional background in museum administration and as an owner of an art gallery.


Gretchen Bieker

Originally from Culver, Indiana, Gretchen got started in the reenacting hobby almost thirty years ago, while attending Purdue University. That’s where she went to her first event, the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon! After seeing the Feast, she was hooked! She started out simple, and with the guidance of several good people went from a European character portrayal to her current Woodland Indian/Metis portrayal. Gretchen is a long-time championship tomahawk thrower, and spent many years helping to run the Fort Ouiatenon Blockhouse during the Feast. She travels across the country to various reenactments. Gretchen’s constant companion at events, Neeka (fondly known in reenacting circles as ‘Pookie’), is a Silky Terrier/Yorkshire Terrier cross who looks very handsome sporting a Mohawk hairdo with tinkle cones, vermillion, and deer hair decorations!


Rick Conwell

Rick Conwell is the current Vice President and Treasurer of Yankee Doodle Muzzle Loaders, Inc, and Co-director of the Kalamazoo Living History Show™.

Rick’s interest in Midwestern and early American History was stirred at an early age, first by the Civil War Centennial from 1961 to 1965, and later by Alan Eckert’s book The Frontiersmen. Growing up less than 100 miles from Friendship, Indiana, he began attending the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s national matches there at age 13.

In 1975, Rick attended the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon at Fort Ouiatenon near Lafayette, Indiana as a young apprentice silversmith. Years later, reenacting activities led to his reintroduction to Ouiatenon and to work as an adjunct researcher cataloging the French fort’s extensive archaeological collections for the Tippecanoe County Historical Association. These efforts culminated in the “School of the Artifact,” a weekend exhibit and lecture series held in Lafayette, Indiana.

Rick holds a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and continues to maintain life-long interests in the history, archaeology, and material culture of 18th and 19th Century North America and the Old Northwest Territory. He is retired from a career in the oil service industry which took him to locations throughout the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to his management and organizational duties with the Kalamazoo living History Show™, he is currently employed by Tippecanoe County Historical Association as Site Director and Museum Stores Manager at the Tippecanoe Battlefield, a significant 1811 historic site now planning its bicentennial observance. He continues to make reproduction trade silver on an occasional basis. Spare time interests include shooting muzzle loaders, and, along with his wife, Leslie, operating, maintaining, and enjoying the rewards of a 12 acre heirloom gardening and horse property.


Leslie Martin Conwell

Leslie Martin Conwell serves as President of the Yankee Doodle Muzzle Loaders, Inc. and as Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Living History Show™. She has over 35 years of experience in the museum and living history fields. An anthropologist, Leslie’s main areas of interest lie in the Great Lakes fur trade era and the American cowgirl. She graduated from Purdue University Summa Cum Laude and with Phi Beta Kappa honors, and went to graduate school at Indiana University. She served as Fort Ouiatenon Site Manager for many years, and is the coordinator of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association’s Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. Leslie currently sits on the board of directors for Mississinewa 1812. She was recently selected to coordinate the 200th Anniversary Battle of Tippecanoe Commemoration. In addition, she works as the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s American History Events Coordinator, and is responsible for the living history programming of the NMLRA’s National Shoots and as the event organizer of the Lore of the Laughery. Leslie has the responsibility of coordinating the NMLRA’s museum exhibits at their national headquarters in Friendship, Indiana. She has won many awards in the travel and tourism industry, including the state of Indiana’s Hoosier Hospitality award. Leslie was a featured speaker at the National Rifle Association’s National Convention in 2008.

In her “spare” time, Leslie loves playing with her dogs, a Newfoundland and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, gardening in her rose and vegetable gardens with her husband Rick, and is active in Newfoundland dog rescue.


Logan Eder

Logan Eder is 15 years old, and the 2011 Kalamazoo Living History Show™ will be her third year to work as show staff. Logan is in 10th grade at Franklin Central High School. Her family owns Flintlocks Inc., a longtime vendor at the Kalamazoo Living History Show™. Logan loves writing and is in the school orchestra. An accomplished violin player, Logan has been featured in the programming at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s National Shoots. She also assists with the living history programming for the NMLRA, and many young children look up to her and say they want to be like Logan when they “grow up!”


David Jennys

David Jennys came into Living History in the early 1980s when he met his wife in college. After serving four years in the U.S. Air Force, David came to Indiana to pursue a B.A. in Social Studies education, graduating from Grace College in 1987. In addition to teaching junior and senior high history in High Point, NC, David worked as a Living History Interpreter at the Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton, OK. In 2000, David graduated from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and was ordained as a pastor in The United Methodist Church in 2003. David has been published in several history history publications, including the Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly, Wild West and World War II. He also has been published in Marathon & Beyond. David has been a staff writter for Smoke & Fire News for over twenty years and writes the "This Month In History" column. David and Susan will be married for twenty-five years this June. They have two college-age children. David's hobbies and interests include reading on a wide range of subjects, distance running (he has completed 11 marathons and 1 ultra-marathon, and numerous shorter distance races), playing strategy games, and having interesting conversations.


Susan Jennys

Susan Jennys has been involved in living history since the 1970's, and has been a vocal advocate for professionalism in "experential anthropology" for many years. She holds advanced degrees in anthropology/museum science, and is the author of 19th Century Plains Indian Women's Clothing. Susan is an expert craftswoman, specializing in the reproduction of historic Plains Indian-style painted robes, leather garmenting, and beadwork for living history and powwow. Susan's articles have appeared in various publications including Muzzleloader, Muzzle Blasts, Backwoodsman, Whispering Wind, Native Peoples, Living History, and Smoke & Fire News. Susan is a Licensed Local Pastor in the United Methodist Church. In her spare time, Susan enjoys reading (particularly science fiction, first-source documents, and contemporary theology), writing, gardening, bread baking, and pursuing pe rsonal fitness goals.


Dan Lima and Debby Lima

The Lima’s got their start with them attending the Feast in 1993. Intrigued by what they had seen, Dan contacted Leslie Dotson at the Tippecanoe County Historical Association saying he wanted to learn everything there was to know about the period. Armed with a hefty bibliography, Dan read and sewed his way through the winter. When spring arrived he had multiple containers full of carefully researched, hand-sewn clothing. The fabrics were right - wools and linens and silks. The fabric patterns were right – plains and florals. The tailoring was period correct. When he asked how he could improve, the only thing anyone could suggest was that a tiny bit of lace trim was not of the type in use in France in the 18th century. Every detail of clothing, paint, and accessories for Dan and his family is true to their 18th century personas except for one thing: Dan is the one who sews the clothes. Not just his clothing, but all the clothing for all the family. Dan is especially known for the beautifully tailored French justacourps or trade coats he makes for family and friends. He sews women’s period clothing, too, and creates elaborate French gowns for his daughters as well as appropriate Native American garb. His persona and those of family members have been as carefully researched as the clothing. His wife Debby portrays a European first taken captive as a child by the Iroquois and then captured from that tribe by the Piankashaw. Dan portrays a Piankashaw scout in a red French trade coat, cradling his flintlock, he is Antoine Louis Lavassseur, a metis, son of a Pinakashaw mother and French father.


Fern Martin

Fern Honeywell Martin joined the staff of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association in Lafayette, Indiana in 1975, and retired in 1997 as Director of Public Relations. The historical association programs and/or administers four locations- the Moses Fowler House, the Tippecanoe Battlefield, a large library and genealogical resource center, and Fort Ouiatenon Historical Park and archaeological site. TCHA is also the sponsor of the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, a nationally known historic reenactment at Fort Ouiatenon Historic Park.

Fern’s professional honors have included being named Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Evan Bayh, which is the highest award the state of Indiana can bestow upon a civilian, Business and Professional Woman of the Year by the Lafayette YWCA at their Salute to Women, and a citation by the Tippecanoe County Commissioners for outstanding service.

She has written many articles for newspapers, magazines and professional publications, scripted and produced numerous radio and television programs, and co-authored four books about Tippecanoe County history, in addition to promoting the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, its programs, activities, and sites.


National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association

The Kalamazoo Living History Show™ is fortunate to have three members of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s board of directors serve as show staff. Bob Voegele is the current President of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. Winston Roland is a past President of the NMLRA, and remains on the board of directors. Jerry Middendorf serves as the NMLRA’s National Field Representative Coordinator, and is on the board of directors. Bob, Winston and Jerry assist the show by providing technical advice and lending their expertise on the history and heritage of muzzleloading, as well as assisting with gun safety.

Winston Roland

Winston Roland started shooting muzzleloaders in May 1972 on his first trip to the home of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association in Friendship, Indiana. He has served on the NMLRA board of directors since 1996, including terms as First and Second Vice President and President. He works the NMLRA’s booth at Dixon’s Gun Maker Fair, the Honorable Company of Horners Annual Convention, the NRA conventions, the Conner Long Rifle’s show, and other various events across the country. For the last five years Winston has been a director for the National Rendezvous and Living History Foundation. He is an NMLRA Benefactor life member, an NRA life member, and a member of the 1 of 1000 NMLRA endowment program. Winston serves as an NMLRA range officer, a black powder instructor, and as a field representative. He has worked security at the Kalamazoo Living History Show™ the past three years, and always helps Leslie and Rick with any task they need done. Winston is pursuing personal fitness goals without much success!

Bob Voegele

Shortly after graduation from Purdue University, in 1982, Bob was introduced to muzzleloading when he attended a North South Skirmish Association shoot. He was immediately hooked and has been shooting muzzleloaders every since. In 1992, Bob moved back to his home town of Batesville, Indiana where he became involved with a local club of competitive shooters. Shooting muzzleloading rifles, shotguns, and pistols became a way of life. He soon became involved with the club operations and has served as chairman of membership and muzzleloading, as a Board member, and two terms as club President.

Born and raised just 25 minutes from Friendship, Bob was familiar with the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association early on, but only became active in the mid 90’s. Having served in a number of capacities since, he elected to get more involved. Currently, Bob is in his third year as President of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association.

Bob and his wife, Angie, and their three children -- Kathryn, Maria, and Jacob – live in Batesville, Indiana. He owns a Napa Auto Parts store in Brookville, Indiana and manages the family owned Napa store in Batesville.

Jerry Middendorf

Jerry Middendorf is a member of the board of directors for the NMLRA. Jerry’s volunteer work includes serving as the NMLRA Chief Range Officer, National Range Officer Instructor, NMLRA/NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor, and Indiana Hunter Education Instructor. Jerry also serves as a Director for the National Rendezvous and Living History Foundation and works with the 4-H National Shooting Sports Program as a National Instructor. He works security at the Kalamazoo Living History Show™ .

Jerry is not pursuing personal fitness goals and is having great success.


Dave Rainey

Dave has been with the Kalamazoo Living History Show™ for many years, since its move to the Kalamazoo Expo Center. He works security for the show, and is a well-known fixture at the gates. Dave considers all the visitors and participants as family, since he has worked the show so long. He is a farmer in Bangor, Michigan, and has lived there since 1957. Dave is married with three children.


Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson has been involved with the Tippecanoe County Historical Association for over thirty years, with his main area of interest being the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. Mark has served the historical association in many ways, including terms on the board of governors and also as Chairman of the “Feast.” Mark is well-known for his saying that “it’s not a problem- it is an area of challenge and opportunity!” His marvelous sense of humor has made many a difficult event situation go more smoothly. Mark always says his favorite job at the Feast is siphoning the porta-jons! He is retired from the HVAC industry, is married to wife Pam, he has a grown son and a dog named Tybo. Mark’s grandson, Tylar, is also on the staff of the Kalamazoo Living History Show!™


Tylar Thompson

Tylar can truly say that he’s been reenacting all of his life! He is 16 years old, and has been attending the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon since he was born. A high school student, the 2009 Kalamazoo Living History Show™ will be Tylar’s second year as a show staff member. Tylar helps out in the Hazel Gray building, and enjoys working with his grandfather, fellow staff member Mark Thompson.


Ethan Yazel

Ethan Yazel is 17 years old and a Junior in high school.  Born into a muzzleloading family, he has been shooting muzzleloaders for 12 years, starting at age 5!  Ethan enjoys shooting unlimited bench guns with his mom and grandpa and pistol with his dad at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Assoication’s national matches in Friendship, Indiana.  He is a tireless volunteer for the NMLRA’s living history programming.  Ethan has also made his own longbow which he enjoys shooting.  Along with his family, Ethan participates at many reenactment events, including Lore of the laughery, the Kalamazoo Living History Show™, the Fair at New Boston, Mississienwa 1812, and Locust Grove.  When not shooting muzzleloaders, Ethan gets his shooting fix by airsofting with friends.  Ethan is an honor student, and plays in his high school marching band, jazz band, and concert band.  He is the crew chief for the lights and sound that work during musical and drama clubs’ performances, as well as competing globally on his Destination Imagination team.  Ethan is a techie, as you knows how to do just about anything on a Windows computer.  He is known by his friends and family for always doing something with his hands.  Ethan is his name and doing stuff is his game.


Isabelle Yazel

Isabelle Yazel is 12 and attends junior high school. Born into a muzzle loading family, she has been shooting muzzleloaders for the past seven years (starting at age 5). She enjoys shooting unlimited bench guns with her mom and grandpa and pistol with her dad at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s national matches in Friendship, Indiana. Isabelle has volunteered for the living history programming and activities for the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association for four years, and does a wonderful job helping and mentoring younger children! Along with her family, Isabelle participates at many reenactment events including the Lore of the Laughery, the Kalamazoo Living History Show™, the Fair at New Boston, Mississinewa 1812, and Locust Grove. Isabelle is an honor student, plays in the high school marching band, and junior high concert band. She participates in her school drama club, on the Destination Imagination Team, volleyball and track teams. She also enjoys playing softball and swimming in the summer.


Larry and Carol Coin

Larry and Carol Coin founded the Kalamazoo Living History Show as a one-day event on Saturday, March 26, 1976.   The first show consisted of just fifty-one dealers who occupied sixty-one tables in Room “A” of the exhibit buildings at the Kalamazoo County Fair Ground.  A total of 1,687 persons, including the administrative staff, dealers, food handlers and visitors, took part.  The show quickly grew and in 1982 was expanded to two days.  The Coins operated the show until 2008, at which time control was turned over to Leslie Martin Conwell.  During their tenure, the show grew to National fame and has become one of the largest and best know events of its kind.


And, in loving memory~
Colleen Gilbert

Historical reenacting legend Colleen Gilbert, better known as “Hester the Beggar Lady,” passed away at the age of 53 at her home in Poland, Indiana on June 25, 2008. Colleen worked as Kalamazoo Living History™ show staff in 2007. She was unable to attend the show in 2008, as she was finishing up a college degree!

Colleen, in her persona as Hester, was a true pioneer in the field of living history and was well-known and greatly respected by reenactors, event coordinators and industry professionals across the country. Colleen stated that she created Hester to better show the public and history enthusiasts how the lower class used to live. Using humor, extensive research and her wonderful interpretation skills, Colleen truly put the “living” into living history. Her personification of Hester was both humorous and informative, and Hester was a fixture at numerous events. No period fashion show would ever be complete without her.

Colleen was perhaps best known for her loyal support of museums, historical sites, and living history organizations. This loyalty was reflected in the huge attendance at her funeral on July 2nd, 2008. Memorialized by family, friends, and reenactors from many states, Colleen’s contributions to the living history world cannot be overstated. We love you and miss you, Colleen.


March 15-16, 2014

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