Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
By William Kincaid
Cannons will blast at reenactment
FORT RECOVERY - After three years of planning, event organizers say they are ready for the first "Civil War at the Fort" event this weekend at Ambassador Park.
"People have no idea what it takes to put on a show of this magnitude," organizer Nick Dues said about the reenacted battles that will occur Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Dues and event organizers William Collins, Chris Bechtol and Craig Wendel met with the newspaper Tuesday while continuing to prepare for the three-day event.
"It literally has become a town event," Bechtol said.
As of Tuesday, more than 600 Civil War reenactors from as far away as Colorado and Florida have pre-registered to attend. Organizers expect about 800 reenactors, in addition to horses, cannons, vintage baseball players and throngs of spectators.
"It's a huge number," said Collins, who has participated in several reenactments across the U.S., including in Gettysburg.
Events begin Friday as hundreds of students - mostly middle school age - from Mercer and Auglaize counties and Indiana travel to Ambassador Park for presentations, demonstrations and a Civil War skirmish.
Students will learn how cannons work and the purpose of the calvary, among other topics, Bechtol said.
On Saturday and Sunday, two major battle reenactments will be held. Confederate and Union soldiers - dressed in period uniforms - will battle for each other's territory, including the park's bridge.
Forty of the park's 52 acres has been designated as the battlefield. Organizers have created fences, mounds and barricades to enhance the war simulation.
Reenactors are paid a bounty - or small amount of money - if they follow all the rules, Collins said. For instance, all artillery men and women must participate in the night fire.
Spectators will be able to observe the battles from bleachers.
Collins pointed out that a live artillery demonstration, including cannons, will be held at 1:15 p.m. Saturday on the western edge of the park. This is a rare event for any reenactment as most events don't have enough space.
Also, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 16 cannons will conduct an artillery night fire that organizers said will be enhanced with pyrotechnics.
Other Saturday events include a side saddle demonstration at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., ladies tea and fashion competition at 1 p.m., battle at 3 p.m. and a Civil War grand ball at 9 p.m. Sunday events include church services at 9:30 a.m., target shooting at 11:30 a.m., cavalry demonstration at 1 p.m. and battle at 2:15 p.m.
"I think we're going to do very well," Collins said.
A shuttle service will transport spectators to various events. The event will be held rain or shine.
Admission each day is $5 for adults and free for children 8 and younger.
Park entrances are off state Route 49 by the Ambassador Depot or along Fort Site Street between the village's forts and museum.
For more information, visit www.fortpull.com.
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