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Not just history: Fun events planned at Bayside Historical Society this fall

Oct. 2, 2023 By Iryna Shkurhan

While pumpkin patches and corn mazes rank high on many fall activities lists, they’re not the only fun events you can look forward to in the upcoming months. 

The Bayside Historical Society, founded in 1964, is actively preserving the history of Bayside and neighboring communities. As part of their efforts to engage visitors, they host an array of events in Fort Totten Park to cultivate an appreciation for the area. 

But if you’re not a history buff, don’t worry, not all of their events have a historical undertone. If you are the type to marvel at events that happened centuries ago, prepare to dive into some local history in eastern Queens.

Totten Trot 5K Race

The 22nd annual Halloween themed 5K race is back on Sunday, Oct. 29, just in time for Halloween. Runners, or walkers, can complete the waterfront course in Fort Totten Park and pass buildings in the Historic District dating back to the late 1800s along the way. The 3.1-mile loop starts and finishes at the landmarked Officer’s Club.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the three top male and female runners. There will also be a best costume prize! But your costume probably won’t top what the guys from the Empire City Garrison, a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization, will be wearing. They’ll be around to pose for photos with runners. 

Runners compete at a past Totten Trot 5K Run in Fort Totten Park. Photo courtesy of BHS

The event will also feature a Kids’ Fun Run, a short-distance sprint, which begins at 10 a.m. Tiny tots and children under 12 are welcome and will be grouped by age.

Check-in for runners starts at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. Timing and scoring will be provided for the USATF certified course. 

Tickets are currently $30, but they’ll go up to $35 on Oct. 15 and can be grabbed for $40 the day of the race. Registration includes a T-shirt and a bib featuring your name, if you register three weeks ahead of the race. 

A baseball game in Hoboken, NJ in 1866. Publisher Currier & Ives. Photo courtesy of BHS

19th Century Baseball Game

Ever wonder how baseball was played in the 1880s? Well the New York Mutuals and the Brooklyn Atlantics will play a historic (before baseball gloves were invented) recreation of the game. The players will be clad in replica uniforms and use recreated equipment, such as balls and bats, from the time period. 

Come with all your prying baseball history questions as players will be equipped to answer them all. Kids in attendance will also be invited to field grounders. 

The event on Saturday, Oct. 7, is free to attend, but donations are encouraged. Feel free to bring your own blankets, lawn chairs and picnics to the Fort Totten Soccer fields from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. RSVP at baysidehistorical.org/events-1/19th-century-base-ball-game.

Open Sew at the Castle 

As temperatures drop, indoor activities may already be calling your name. If you quilt, sew or embroider, come find your community at the Castle’s open sew. You can bring something you are currently working on and bask in the camaraderie of crafting alongside others. Those who do hand-work such as cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting and crocheting are also welcome. 

All types of sewers and hand crafters are welcome to the event. Photo courtesy of BHS

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own sewing machine as only a limited number of machines are available. But sewing on a machine is not required to participate. The event on Saturday, Nov. 4, is $8 for members of the BHS and $10 for non-members. RSVP

Step into the Civil War

Interested in learning about the Civil War by walking in the steps of soldiers from the 1860s?  The Company K of the 67th NY Infantry will be at Fort Totten on Tuesday, Oct. 14, to reenact and share all aspects of life from the time period. 

Learn more about how soldiers thought, what they ate, what they wore and how they fought and endured through a crucial war in American history. The event is free for all and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. RSVP

Civil War buffs share their knowledge at BHS in Fort Totten. Photo courtesy of BHS

Older Adult Yoga

Every Monday at noon, the Bayside Historical Society hosts a gentle yoga class with light weight training. It is specifically geared towards those over the age of 50. Stephanie, the certified yoga instructor, modifies poses to focus on body issues that older adults develop. Exercises focus on developing balance, flexibility, strength and endurance. 

Walk-ins are welcome to the $15 class. Participants should bring their own mats and weights that are 2-3 pounds. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. 

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