Sometimes it's just not enough to read or watch films about epochs of history -- they need to be relived. That's the opportunity given to all Civil War buffs who attend annual Civil War re-enactment festivals. Festivals are held across the country to commemorate the great valor and loss of life the American people experienced during that time. As well as recreating battles that decided America's fate, period-style dances, dinners and church services are often on the schedule at these events. Listed are some select Civil War re-enactment festivals from across the nation, although there are countless others. Also keep in mind that registration to participate as a re-enactor is often required several months in advance of the event.
Annual Gettysburg Reenactment, Pennsylvania
The Annual Gettysburg Reenactment at Pumping Station Road takes place where the film "Gettysburg" was shot, on the anniversary of the actual battle, July 1 to 3. It is also the largest annual Civil War re-enactment on the East Coast. Guests at the re-enactment can expect to see pyrotechnics for all battles, a civilian camp, a living history village, activities tents, and educational presentations throughout each day of the festival. On Saturday, they can attend a dinner and dance accompanied by the 2nd South Carolina String Band. For information and registration, call 717-338-1525, or visit the website at www.gettysburgreenactment.com.
Annual Civil War Re-Enactment at Neshaminy State Park, Bensalem, Pennsylvania
The festival at Neshaminy State Park is the largest East Coast Civil War reenactment outside of Gettysburg. More than 1,000 men in blue or gray storm the field the first weekend of May, reliving various battles from the war, with different themes each year. In addition to the battle, visitors can view realistic military camp sites, attend historical demonstrations and lectures, and witness performances of live popular music from the time. For more information about the Neshaminy State Park festival, call 610-809-6540, or check out the website at www.28thpvi.net.
Re-enactment of Battle at Bull Run in Manassas and Prince William, Virginia
The Battle at First Manassas/Bull Run was the first battle fought in the American Civil War. To commemorate this epic event in the nation's history, re-enactors, sutlers, and spectators gather at the site each year for a full-scale re-enactment and festival. While Civil War-related educational events happen in Manassas and Prince William all year round, the re-enactment held every July features an abundance of speakers, historical demonstrations, and performances, music, and art from the times in addition to the full-scale re-created battle with participants from around the world. To learn more about the Manassas/Bull Run reenactment festival, call 703-396-7130, toll free at 800-432-1792, or visit the website at www.manassasbullrun.com.
Annual Civil War Reeenactment at Historic Brick House, Montgomery New York
The Brick House re-enactment battle is hosted in September by the 124th New York State Volunteers, a Civil War re-enactment unit based in southern New York. Their annual event includes scripted battles, historical and military demonstrations, sutlers, and a candlelight tour. The feature of this festival is the Sunday morning refereed tactical. For information about the event or to register, call 845-895-9297, 845-565-3082, or visit the 124th online at www.124thnysv.com.
25th Annual Battle of Fort Branch Re-enactment in Hamilton, North Carolina
The Fort Branch Confederate Earthen Fort is a historical Civil War site, which hosts an annual re-enactment and festival at the Confederate star-shaped earthen fort overlooking the Roanoke River. Attendees can enjoy battles on both days of the weekend, including a Saturday tactical, period-style dinner and dance, and a Civil War-style Sunday church service. The festival takes place the first weekend of November every year. For information about the Fort Branch re-enactment, call 252-756-3382, 919-732-6986, or visit their site at www.fortbranchcivilwarsite.com.
- Gettysburg Reenactment: Annual Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactment
- Manassas Bull Run: 150th Commemorative Reenactment of the Battle of 1st Manassas/Bull Run
- 124th New York State Volunteers: The Brick House Event
- Fort Branch Civil War Site: Re-enactors Bring Fort Branch to Life Each November
- York Blog: 22nd Annual Civil War Re-enactment at Neshaminy State Park
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