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Shadows turn into puddles

Annual Civil War re-enactment loses the weather battle

PRINCETON — Mother Nature pummeled the Shadows of the Blue and Gray, a Civil War re-enactment held this past weekend at City-County Park north of Princeton, with down-pouring rain and high winds.

On Monday, Shadows co-chairman Jeff Freeman said it wasn’t an easy weekend for anyone involved.

“It was rough,” Freeman said. “Obviously, I’m disappointed.”

In a good year, when the sun is shining and the weather is good, an estimated 3,000 people would show up for the Shadows of the Blue and Gray with about 1,500 people going through the gates on each of the two days of the weekend event. However, with this past weekend’s cold and rainy weather, maybe a total of 250 people showed up, Freeman said.

On a good note, there were some hardy people who braved the weather and came to the event from as far away as Kankakee, Port Byron and Wisconsin, Freeman said.

Financially, there was no way the Shadows of the Blue and Gray could break even this year, since revenue comes primarily through ticket sales at the gate.

But in spite of the rains and high winds, the spirit of the Civil War re-enactors was still great, Freeman said, adding they were determined to proceed in spite of the weather and even if no one from the public showed up.

As far as the logistics of the weekend, Freeman said everything did go on as planned, but some of the presentations which were planned for an outdoor stage had to be pushed into the shelter at the park.

According to the Princeton Water Treatment Plant, the city of Princeton received 0.55 inch of rain on Saturday and another 1.17 inches of rain on Sunday. A wind advisory was also in effect for a portion of the weekend with guest up to 45 miles per hour.

Looking back to the weekend, Freeman said there’s nothing else that can be done about this year’s 15th annual Shadows of the Blue and Gray. For now, the focus will be to start planning for next year’s event and to start praying for better weather, he said.

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