Photograph Courtesy of East Coast Doughboys

This year marks the centennial of service members and civilians returning from France to New York Harbor following the Great War in 1919. To commemorate this event, you can take part in a free two day festival of activities, ceremonies, education, and living history on Governors Island National Monument this weekend. “WWI History Weekend Camp Doughboy” will bring together 100 living history re-enactors, vintage vehicles from a century ago, and exhibitions of equipment, uniforms, and weapons. The goal of the weekend is to learn more about the war that changed the world — and gave birth to modern America.

“If we want to understand the world we live in today, we must learn more about World War I, and the Centennial is the perfect time to get people’s attention,” observed Dr. Libby O’Connell, U.S. World War I Centennial Commissioner. “Camp Doughboy gives all ages the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the Great War, and the chance to visit Governors Island as well. We are taking history out of the classroom and opening it up to all.”

Photograph Courtesy of East Coast Doughboys

Camp Doughboy began in 2016 and is today the largest free public WWI exhibition in the U.S. It draws living historians from across the country to tell the story of the war from all viewpoints. Governors Island National Monument will feature the Ebony Doughboys to bring to life the famous Harlem Hellfighters, women in uniform to talk about their role in WWI, the Long Island Living History Association with museum-quality exhibitions and displays, and dozens of re-enactors dressed in vintage uniforms. Photo gallery from 2018. There will also be two days of cavalry demonstrations on horseback, a vintage bicycle rally around Governors Island, and a cooking demonstration with a WWI U.S. Army field kitchen. A dedicated kids activity area and teacher training are added for the 4th annual weekend.

Photograph Courtesy of East Coast Doughboys

All activities are free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15. Ferries are available from Brooklyn and Manhattan every half hour. You can check the ferry schedule here. Take the ferry to historic Fort Jay at Governors Island National Monument in New York Harbor.

Photograph Courtesy of East Coast Doughboys

The public is invited to attend dressed in Edwardian attire. Bringing bicycles to the Island is encouraged (modern is fine) for the rally around the 2.2 mile perimeter. Kids and families are welcome, everything is all-ages. Cameras and videography is OK. The events are held on the Parade Ground of Governors Island National Monument, a 22-acre park managed by the U.S. National Park Service. The weekend is organized by the East Coast Doughboys re-enactor organization, with support from the History Channel.

Next, check out 10 Traces of World War I You Can Still Find in NYC on the Centennial Anniversary from the archives

 events, Governors Island, things to do, things to do in NYC, World War I

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