Yay! I'm here to share a picture filled post about the Civil War reenactment that was held in our area that you've heard so much about! Finally you get to see a bit of the grounds we fervently gallivanted in leather shoes (and barefoot), aprons, and petticoats as the weekend whizzed past!
First off I'll state that this is our second year of being part of this event and though I shared about the dress I made for it last year, that was but it. The weather last time around was utterly awful, leaving little time for pleasure of taking photos! Anyways, our part of this event includes offering time period foods (as much as we are able) to both the public and re-enactors alike. So I'll first show you a bit of that area, being our setup, and then move on to the reenactment, camps, etc!
Our area this year was in a much better location, being closer to the barns near the house meant we were able to have electricity and not have to use a generator which was a big must for this year, as last year, as I said, was not very pleasant, even for a test run! Anywho, the two "buildings" you see above (the small wooden shack and tent) are what we served our warm stew, corn bread, blueberry buckle, fresh lemonade....everything we'd worked so hard to home-make, was sold out the front of those two dwellings shown. The setup was a bit of a risk to see if it worked or not as people would have to get some food from one (i.e. the wooden booth warm foods- the tent, deserts, drinks, and snacks) and then move on to the next to get the rest of what they wanted and/or pay for their purchases. It turned out that it worked quite well which was a big relief as we definitely didn't want to have to rearrange things midday while we had costumers! The wooden booth on the left is one that we use during a winter time outdoor craft show in the weekends of December. (Dad helped us pick it up from storage and set it up on Thursday before the weekend of; perfect it being he's the one to set up all of them come that time of year.) It worked really well to have this our main station for storing things in come nightfall and as a nice wind barrier for the tent that stood beside. The tent you see is what was left of our big open 10'X20' tent we attempted to use last year. The wind ruined most of the metal poles for the longer side, but what was left was still usable and the perfect amount of space what we yet we needed after the usage of the booth.
We decorated with things from around our Aunt's house as well as our own just as we'd done last year. It's definitely alot of fun to set up and then throughout the day hear compliments of how period and rustic everything looked together. We also had to place signs around the grounds, pointed people our way to "Vittles for Victory", making sure people knew that good homemade and local food was on site. So much fun!
Both Saturday & Sunday were battle re-enactments in the afternoons. The grounds of Van Raalte Farm are still quite extensive, being it really the ultimate place to hold such an event. Paths are weeded out through woods leading to the different "army camps" and to temporary store fronts such as a saloon, blacksmith's tent, and places one would buy the extra necessaries had you been one of the brave men to be in such a position. Oh, and did I mention that not only were these store fonts period in looks and merchandise, but that a modern day civilian could buy from them also? So, so neat! I'm sure if we'd taken pictures of every single thing we'd have quite the long post to get through, plus being busy ourselves it's hard to find time to get the best shot of things! But take a look at what we did capture and try to imagine yourself there. It definitely felt as though you were back in time, right in the midst of the 1860's. Everyone does such an amazing job bringing everything in to bring things of that era back to life.
Watching the reenactments of battle scenes is quite mind blowing once you get into it; clearly the distractions of people just arriving, crying children, or the like. The whole production each of the two days took place far back in the clearing behind the property of the farm. At times it can be found humorous, the younger guys pretending to fall down hurt in dramatic ways or their "sneaky" attempts at deserting, but really when you're up close and listening to their shrill cries and seeing the "smokey" clouds hovering with Calvary rushing in behind, it brings back all those imaginings one may have had while reading about the Civil War or watching some movie about it. It's awe inspiring to see only a very small glimpse of what our brave men on each side fought for and lived through only to know somewhere their family survived; giving their all for what they believed in.
At about 7pm Sunday it was time to pack up and begin the process of making sure people had what they'd brought etc etc. You'd be utterly amazed at how quickly everyone was able to pack their kit and caboodle and clear out. Even those that yes, had literally camped through the weekend in the tents you saw pictures of above, were able to just pack up and head home!
We just had another amazing year getting to know the folks who work so hard on costumes, props, etc. and those who travel from hours away just to do their part. It's definitely another event we're looking forward to each year now and are excited for what else we can do in years to come to bring the knowledge of such an important time period of our country to the people of our area.
Have you ever been to a reenactment of any kind?
the elder writer