Byline: Sally MacDowell Daily Herald Staff Writer
Some start out life with an imaginary friend. Others wonder who they might have been if returned to a past life.
Here's a chance to have one ... and discover the other.
A workshop in February will teach volunteers how to develop a period character with the possibility of taking part in regional historical re-enactments.
A number of agencies seek such volunteers, says Kate Halma of the McHenry County Conservation District, which recruits people for its Trail of History. Running for several days each October, the event focuses on life in Illinois during the Northwest Territory era, roughly 1750 to the late 1700s.
Halma says a class at the Feb. 17 and 18 workshop called "How and Why Do I Become a Period Character?" is a good place to begin.
Dennis Beaver, a French voyageur re-enactor, teaches the class. He helps people choose their characters, and then he explains how to bring them to life.
The workshop also acquaints volunteers with a variety of sources to research the time period in which their characters lived, according to Kim Caldwell, education program coordinator for the conservation district.
"The trend is really going toward doing it in the right way with historical research and taking the time to learn the details," Caldwell said.
Volunteers strive for an accurate depiction, right down to their costumes, accents and enactment of their work, including basic life-sustaining needs as fire building or hunting and trapping.
Among the workshop speakers is a staff member from the Newberry Library in Chicago. But non-academic sources are commonly used and will be explained, too. …