Civil War buffs, area students and spectators had a chance to get a sense of what life was like during the U.S. Civil War era, at a three-day event at the Florida Pioneer Museum and Village in Dade City.
The event, held Feb. 28 through March 1, provided an opportunity for school field trips and for museum visitors to immerse themselves in living history displays.
Public school, private school and home-school students visited on Feb. 28, taking self-guided tours through camps and stations created to give a sense of what life was like in the 1860s.
The museum also offered guided tours of many of the museum buildings, including the 1860s-era Overstreet House.
On the weekend, several informational presentations led up to the big show, The Battle of Santa Rosa Island reenactment.
Other features of the day included a blacksmith and wood wright demonstration, live entertainment, food, and traditional crafters.
There also was a Time Period Fashion Show, on Feb. 29, on the porch of the Overstreet House. There was a Ladies Tea, too, which welcomed spectators, but required them to wear period dress to participate.
The Battle of Santa Rosa Island was conducted on both weekend days.
Audiences were encouraged to bring their lawn chairs or blankets to witness the great battle reenactment, as the Confederate and Union Soldiers battled for Santa Rosa Island, a 40-mile barrier island located in the Panhandle near Pensacola.
The historical Battle of Santa Rosa took place on Oct. 9, 1861, and was a victory for the Union. According to the website AmericanCivilWar.com, an estimated total of 154 men lost their lives that day.
The actors that participate in the Dade City Civil War reenactment usually arrive at the museum on the Thursday before the start of the event. These hobbyists pay for their own expenses out of their own wallets, and make or purchase their own costumes.
Many agree that it is a very expensive hobby.
Joe Kurtright, a musician with the live old-time musical act, ‘7lbs of Bacon,’ summed it up like this: “The reenactors do it for their history and their heritage, and for the deep love of their country.”
Published March 11, 2020