Join the Niles History Center for these upcoming programs and events! 

Niles Renaissance Faire 

New NRF logoCalling all lords, ladies, knights, dames, pirates, fairies and fans of history, fantasy and magic! The Niles Renaissance Faire will take place May 19-20, from 10-4 pm at South Riverfront Park. 

All ages are invited to join in the merriment and revelry through a variety of performances and vendors. Ongoing shows will feature pirate lore, Celtic and folk music, combat, magic, fairy tales and storytelling. Handcrafted items for sale will include jewelry, costumes, ceramics, wooden items, candles, soap, replica weapons and more. Food will be available for purchase. Various shops and restaurants downtown will also host specials for the weekend.

Seasoned Renaissance Faire attendees may recognize some of the acts at the Faire, including Bell, Book and Canto and Theatrical Combat Network. Popular favorite Corvus Cohort will set up an encampment where visitors will discover what life was like in the past. The ever-engaging Ric Roc Zoo and Mother of All Dragons Training School will round out the entertainment. Expect that at some stages performers will pass the hat at the end of each show for a gratuity. Tipping is at your discretion, but always highly appreciated!

For those who have never attended a Faire, this is a great opportunity to step back in time and into the world of fantasy. You may meet a pirate, a princess, a knight and encounter other colorful characters from the past who entertain and educate.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs to enjoy the shows. The event will take place rain or shine. The cost to attend is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 5-12 and free for ages 4 and under. Seniors (65 and older) and military tickets are $3. Please note for this first year, only cash will be accepted at the entrance gate.  

Dates: Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Riverfront Park South

Please download the appropriate application. Complete and email to nileshistory@nilesmi.org by April 15. We will notify you by April 30 if your application is approved.
General Vendor Application 
Food Vendor Application 

First Friday Walking Tours 

downtown in the 50's

The Niles History Center is excited to offer walking tours this summer! Meet a museum representative at the Fort St. Joseph Museum (508 E. Main Street) and take a stroll down Main Street to learn about our community's historic downtown. Highlights include the Four Flags Hotel, Ready Theater, Paris Candy and Main Street bridge. 

Historic photos are shown throughout the tour.
Tours are free but donations are gratefully accepted to help fund this program.

2018 Walking Tour Schedule:
Friday June 1, 10:00am
Friday, July 6, 10:00am
Friday, August 3, 10:00am
Friday, September 7, 10:00am

All tours are weather permitting. Please call 269-845-4054 for more information.

Portraits and Profiles: African Americans in Niles
 

history program

In 2016, the Niles History Center received funding though the Michigan Humanities Council’s Heritage Grant program to explore our community’s African American history. As part of the grant, a banner exhibit was produced as well as a walking tour, curriculum guide and online exhibit. 

Niles served as a hub for African Americans starting in the mid-19th century. Free blacks and those who sought freedom through the Underground Railroad found refuge in Niles. They established neighborhoods, started businesses, built houses, and raised families. Many of their descendants still call Niles home.  

In Niles, the Ferry Street Community included the Ferry Street School (originally the “Colored” School), Mount Calvary Baptist Church (formerly Second Baptist) and the John W. Moore Lodge of Freemasons. The “Dickereel” neighborhood on the northeast edge of Niles was filled with immigrants and African Americans. Black-owned businesses operated throughout downtown. The Niles is featured prominently in the 1915  Michigan Manual of Freedmen’s Progress, published 50 years after abolishment of slavery. Armed with historical knowledge, descendants of  these early African American families gained opportunities during the Civil Rights era. It is time to pass along their knowledge to the next generation.

Niles High School students interviewed senior residents to gather information. Stories were recorded and images were collected to create the banners which were inspired by the remarkable lives of these individuals.