Park hosts wealth of programs for battle reenactment

Thousands will flock to the Cedar Creek battlefield in Middletown to relive and witness history during a reenactment weekend jam-packed with educational programs and activities.

Last year’s 150th anniversary event rallied around 6,000 reenactors and 10,000 spectators for the landmark year. This year, the foundation estimates that the men in uniform will number a more conservative 3,000.

Spectators can pick their winner by watching the Confederate victory played out at the Battle of Second Kernstown at 3 p.m. Saturday or the Union triumph at the Battle of Cedar Creek at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Patrick Kehoe, manager at Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, said the weekend happenings will give all visitors a chance to experience something new.

“Every individual will experience something unique, something different from their neighbor, who will carry away something else,” he said.

Attendees can get a preliminary intro to the battlefield on Friday with car caravan tours following the cavalry at Cedar Creek at 1 p.m. and Jubal Early’s approach at 4.

The symposium tent will host presentations by historians and authors throughout the weekend, as well as a concert by the 46th Pennsylvania Regiment Band at 4 p.m. Saturday.

National Park Service rangers will lead several battleground tours and demonstrations periodically, including a more than 10-mile hike to the summit of Signal Knob from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to explain the mountain’s significance.

Those hungry for more demonstrations and lectures can stop into the Belle Grove Manor House to speak with costumed interpreters and the Wayside Inn to listen to Civil War historian James Robertson Jr. speak at a reception.

Sights and sounds will continue into the evening on Saturday with a $5 candlelight tour of the camps, the lighting of luminaries in Middletown and a night firing of cannons and signal corps. Reenactors will don their finest period garb for their ball at the symposium tent at 8 p.m. featuring live music by the Susquehanna Travelers.

Two Masses will start Sunday off at 9 a.m. – a contemporary Mass in the activities tent and a period Mass celebrated in Latin. A non-denominational gospel service will be held at 10 a.m. in the tent.

Spectators can see artillery demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday and infantry and cavalry demonstrations on Saturday.

Attendees can park at either the Belle Grove Road entrance or on either side of Route 11 at that entrance. A wagon shuttle will run on Saturday and Sunday to various locations on the reenactment grounds.

Daily admission is $12 for adults, $6 for students, children aged 7 to 17, persons 65 and older and retired or active military members. Children younger than 6 will be admitted free.

IF YOU GO: Cedar Creek Battlefield at 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
National Park Service Visitor Contact Station at 7712 Main St., Middletown from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park and Museum at 33229 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Belle Grove Plantation at 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets: $6 to $12 in advance at http://ccbf.us/ or at the event at either the Route 11 or Belle Grove gate.
Contact the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation at 540-869-2064.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com