By Andrew Kramer
BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) – Close to 20,000 spectators are expected to file into Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Bucks County throughout the weekend of April 4th – 6th for their annual Civil War Reenactment.
“It’s a gathering of reenactors who will restage historical battles,” explains Chuck Gilson — Chairman of the Neshaminy Park Committee. “We expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 reenactors. Everything we do is per period. We cook, camp as they would have during the Civil War.”
The event is open to the public, beginning that Friday night during the set-up, to see exactly what camp life was like back in the 1860’s.
“The reenactors follow military protocol,” says Gilson. “There’s reveille at 6 a.m. At 7 a.m. it’s first call, where all the infantry troops fall in the line and are accounted for.”
The camps then open at 9 a.m. for visitors to wander through and see everything first-hand.
“All through the day there’s company drill, battalion drill, dress parade, cavalry demonstration, artillery demonstrations, so it’s a full day of activity for everyone,” Gilson says.
This year’s focus will be the 1864 Overland Campaign (Battle of the Wilderness). If you’re really into history, Gilson says this is the perfect event for you:
“We try to portray it as accurately as we can. Down to the battles, we’ll pick a battle and the battles are of the time. We try to keep it as to the same size and try to recreate it as authentically as we can.”
But whether you’re a history buff or not, Gilson says visitors will get plenty of enjoyment by attending:
“For the people who come and see it, it’s recreational, it’s a chance to see something that you normally don’t see and it remembers our history. It’s part of what made our country.”
And as Gilson points out, the Civil War Reenactment is truly a unique experience:
“If you’ve never experienced something like it, it’s a very good opportunity. It’s family oriented, so it’s a great day to get out with the kids and let the kids see some living history — see what made our country. What better way to spend a spring day?”
There’s no cost to attend, although while you’re there, donations for preservation are welcome.
For more information you can visit the event’s website.
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