Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Spectacle of 150th Gettysburg ~ Part I

The Spectacle of 150th Gettysburg ~ Part I

Thanks to President Lincoln delivering his now legendary speech for the dedication of a National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863, just 4 ½ months after the battle, which was fought July 1st through 3rd, Gettysburg has become the destination for those fascinated by the American Civil War.  The savvy citizens of Adams County, PA leveraged an opportunity and created a tourist industry that honors, commemorates and exploits the tragedy of the battle that was fought over three steaming July days 150 years ago.

In just about one week, hordes or re-enactors, sutlers, vendors, and visitors will be descending upon what was once a small market village. In addition to commemorative events planned by the National Parks Service at the Gettysburg National Military Park, there will be not one, but two reenactments over two successive weekends.  In the next few days I will talk about these upcoming events, both of which I plan to attend as a 19th Century photographer assisting my husband taking wet plate collodion images.

But today, I just want to point out a few of the events commemorating the 150th Battle of Gettysburg that truly exhibits how all of Adams County and the surrounding villages, towns, burgs, and hamlets plan to participate.

June 28th to July 7th there will be a walking tour of Gettysburg that explores tales of murder, scandal and curiosities.  This must be the upgrades version of the regular ghost tour.

Saturday, June 29th, there will be a special Gettysburg Commemoration and Family Festival at the Adams County Winery. It is advertised as “an incredible experience for Civil War enthusiasts”.  For some reason, I just don’t get it.

Also on June 29th, a Fife & Drum Corp will perform at the Gettysburg Outlet Mall. Now that’s a way to commemorate those who fought and died for state or country.

And, one of my favorites – on July 3rd the Shriver House Museum is hosting a Lincoln Look-A-Like Contest.

The latter event causes me to wonder just how many President Lincolns will be at the re-enactment. I’m always delighted to see a General Grant or two….for anyone who cares about history, neither was actually at Gettysburg during the battles!

And before I conclude for this edition, please note that nobody wore a pink kepi in 1863. Just saying.  If you see one, it is in accurate. If you wear one, shame on you!

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