The Old West Society of Minnesota formed about 25 years ago due in large part to its founder, John Cody's love of Western Movies, particularly the movie Tombstone.
The group has swelled and receded in numbers over the years. Now, as the group is restricted from large gatherings, they remain anxiously content to recede into small enclaves of participants.
One such participant is Virgil McCrae, who is the group's deputy marshal. McCrae, like many members, has assumed multiple identities under the reenactment group's umbrella. At one time or another, McCrae has played the likes of Wyatt Earp as well as a character with his same name who is trying to find his way after the Civil War.
The group immerses themselves in the ways of the past and has done reenactments all over the country, including at the Scott County Fair for the last few years. At the fair, the group set up a tented colony and put on live historical demonstrations, including whip displays by Cody.
The reenactors visited with the Herald for the Summer Fair Experience from a meeting point in Dassel, Minnesota, where several members dressed in period-correct garb.
Cody and McCrae traced the group's origins and explained the process for getting into character.
"You become that person," Cody said.
Watch and learn about the rich, expanding and meandering world of living out the days of yesteryear.