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Annual Civil War re-enactment coming to Hale Farm

8/7/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Hale Farm & Village’s annual Civil War re-enactment will take place Aug. 9-10. Shown is a past re-enactment.
Photo courtesy of Hale Farm & Village
BATH — The subject of this year’s Hale Farm & Village Civil War re-enactment will be the Third Battle of Winchester.

This is the 26th year for the annual event, which will take place Aug. 9-10. Jason Klein, Hale Farm & Village’s site manager, called it “the largest annual civil war re-enactment in Ohio,” with re-enactors arriving from multiple states to participate in the event.

“Each year in August, the site is transformed into a Civil War encampment and battlefield. The site becomes overrun with Civil War-era tents, re-enactors, cavalry, canons and historic demonstrations,” he said. “This event is one that brings history alive. The minute people walk through the door, they are taken back to the years of the Civil War. The smell of the campfires and cooking, fife and drum corps playing in the background, the encampments across the property and the sutler’s selling their wares. During the battle, guests see and hear the roar of canons, infantry marching and firing on one another and the cavalry riding horses through the battlefield.”

Hale Farm partners with “multiple re-enactment organizations and their command staff” to develop and deliver the program each year, Klein said.

“Hale Farm & Village is interpreted in the mid-19th Century, which corresponds to the years of the American Civil War,” he said. “This time in our country’s history is important, and what better venue than the Cuyahoga Valley to portray such rich history?”

According to Klein, a different battle is portrayed each year.

“The battle selection comes from recommendations made by the command staff of a number of re-enactment organizations,” he said. “One piece of the selection process is using battle scenarios based on the geography of where they originally took place and if the landscape at Hale Farm lends itself to recreating the battle.”

Hale Farm will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with the battle taking place at 2 p.m. The re-enactment is a “condensed version” of the actual battle, Klein said.

“It goes through the scenario of what actually happened, just in a much shorter time frame,” he said. “For example, this year’s battle, the Third Battle of Winchester, lasted several hours, and the battle presented at Hale Farm & Village will last 45 minutes to an hour.”

Last year, Klein said, 749 re-enactors participated in the event, with “about the same” expected this year for the Third Battle of Winchester, which originally took place in the Shenandoah Valley in September 1864. During the re-enactment, there will be encampments for the Confederate and Union armies where visitors can interact with re-enactors, who will respond in character.

“The interaction with the re-enactors on-site is an up-close-and-personal educational opportunity. And although there is a large crowd, this is a huge space. There are plenty of opportunities for a personal chat with a re-enactor — and they welcome that. They love history and they want to share what life was like during the Civil War,” said Klein. “You won’t see a re-enactor with a cell phone or any modern clothing in either of the encampments, which makes the experience genuine and realistic for everyone in attendance.”

In addition to the encampment and the battlegrounds, Hale Farm will be lined with snack and beverage stations across the property, Klein said, including the Hale Café, where guests can “enjoy a wide selection of food and drink,” including sandwiches, hotdogs, salads, chips, beer, wine, soda, water and ice cream.

“There will also be Sutler’s Row, an area of vendors selling reproductions of period clothing, souvenirs, pictures and re-enactment gear, among other things,” he said.

Tickets for the re-enactment are $10 for adults or $5 for children ages 3-12 and can be purchased the day of the event at Hale Farm, which is located at 2686 Oak Hill Road. The cost for Western Reserve Historical Society members and children ages 2 and younger is free.

“We do not sell out, and the event happens rain or shine,” noted Klein, who added proceeds from the event support the operation, educational programming and upkeep of Hale Farm.

For additional information and a schedule of events, visit www.halefarm.org.

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