Recently my friends and I had the pleasure of participating in the Shadows of the Blue and Gray. The event is an annual favorite for our group that participates in events of various sizes in at least four states. Some in our organization have participated in national events, including the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg this past summer. We tip our hats to the small committee that works very hard throughout the year to plan this event that brings both participants and spectators from as far away as Chicago. Over the years, this committee has continually shrunk in number for various reasons, sadly many of them political, until only a handful of active committee members are faced with the daunting task of fundraising and planning for an event that not only displays a living history but also benefits many businesses in the area.
The lack of financial support for this event from larger businesses in the area is sad, but the complete lack of financial support from the Bureau County Historical Society is appalling. Many historical societies completely fund Civil War re-enactments, turning the events into fundraisers for their societies. Participants and spectators alike were shocked that the Bureau County Historical Society has absolutely nothing to do with the Shadows of the Blue and Gray. Most people assumed that the local historical society was a major contributor. A combined effort between the current committee and the historical society could help revive this event and return it to its former status as one of the largest and best Civil War re-enactments in the state. Without the historical society’s support, or some other benefactor, this is an endangered event.