PRINCETON — The City-County Park north of Princeton will be transformed this weekend into a Civil War camping site and battleground.
The 16th annual Shadows of the Blue and Gray begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with special events scheduled throughout the day until the park closes at 9 p.m. On Sunday, the gates open again at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.
Shadows of the Blue and Gray spokesperson Randy Woodbury said this year’s event will be filled with the traditional favorite happenings, but it will also have some new opportunities to enjoy.
“We have the ever popular and amazing Max and Donna Daniels, as President and Mrs. Lincoln, who always do such an incredible presentation and are always a favorite. The living history artisans will be back again presenting their various crafts. There will be lots of great music and entertainment for all ages, including the kids’ Civil War scavenger hunt and the Lincoln Look-Alike contest,” Woodbury said.
Among the new features this year are more activities for the children, including the “Civil War: Did You Know” program that allows children to learn about things which they might not have known, but in a fun and hands-on way, Woodbury said.
Also new this year will be a special presentation on Illinois women in the Civil War, which will give some unique insights on the role women from Illinois play during the war.
Like the past couple of years, the Civil War campgrounds will be open to area Boy Scouts to join the Civil War re-enactors on Saturday night for an overnight camping experience, Woodbury said.
“We are striving hard to present history in a fun and interesting way and to make sure there is something that will appeal to all ages and both genders,” Woodbury said.
On a personal note, Woodbury said he has been involved in some capacity for the past eight years with the Shadows of the Blue and Gray.
“I’m passionate about presenting history in a unique way, making it fun and not so boring,” Woodbury said. “I think it’s important to present history in a way that stands out from just the black-and white of text books.”
People who have never been interested in history or the Civil War will find the Shadows of the Blue and Gray to be an enjoyable outing and a fun learning opportunity, Woodbury said.
“I think that’s a huge part of what the Shadows of the Blue and Gray brings to the community,” Woodbury said. “It lets people experience an incredible part of our nation’s past in a unique way. Princeton and the surrounding area have a lot of Civil War history here, and I think it’s important that we never forget our past.”
Admission to the Shadows of the Blue and Gray is $5 for persons ages 6 years and older. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No visitor dogs are allowed.
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Schedule of events
10 a.m. City-County Park opens.
11 a.m. Ladies’ Period Fashion Show in the shelter. Also, the 20th Indiana: One regiment's view of the war in the Tall Trees stage.
11:30 a.m. Battle of Antietam Medical Scenario with Clara Barton at the Tall Trees stage.
Noon. Recruitment session for children, 17th Corps Field Hospital.
1 p.m. Grand Entrance of President and Mrs. Lincoln and Lincoln presentations/parade.
1:15 p.m. Lincoln address, press conference, Lincoln look-a-like judging at main shelter.
2 p.m. Ol’ Man River Band at main shelter; Civil War children's program at Tall Tree stage.
3 p.m. Battle re-enactment on the battlefield.
4 p.m. Medical scenarios after battle at the campsites.
4:30 p.m. Baked goods auction at the Tall Trees stage.
5:30 p.m. Illinois Women in the Civil War at main shelter; children’s tour with Clara Barton at Tall Trees stage.
7 p.m. Period dance at the shelter.
TBA: Candlelight tours.
9 p.m. Park closes.
9 a.m. Non-denominational church service at the shelter.
10:30 a.m. Illinois Women in the Civil War at main shelter.
11 a.m. Battle of Antietam Medical Scenario with Clara Barton at Tall Trees stage; recruitment session for children at 17th Corps field hospital.
11:30 a.m. Grand entrance of President and Mrs. Lincoln, parade.
Noon. Lincoln address, press conference, Lincoln look-a-like judging at main shelter.
1 p.m. Ol’ Man River Band at main shelter; Civil War children’s program at Tall Trees stage.
2 p.m. Battle re-enactment followed by battalion parade and review.
3 p.m. Medical scenarios after battle at camp sites.
4 p.m. Park closes.