The Smithfield Community Association’s Civil War Weekend Committee is preparing for the 25th annual Peterboro NY event June 9 – 11, 2017. The event began a quarter century ago to raise funds to repair the Smithfield Community Center and to bring attention to Peterboro’s history. Thanks to loyal volunteers and sponsors, the event has raised monies to continue to upgrade community buildings and acquire the Gerrit Smith Estate, as well as promote the important history of Peterboro.
Pat Ennis will open the event with a program at 7 p.m. Friday, June 9 at the Smithfield Community Center sharing the story of how her transcriptions of family diaries led to Union Bound, a Civil War movie released in 2015. The movie follows Joseph Hoover (Ennis’ great, great grandfather) and a fellow soldier in the 121st Herkimer, as they escaped from Florence Confederate Prison on Sept.21, 1864 and made their way to the Union lines 33 days later – with the help of slaves who were also running north.
The 12th U.S. Infantry Reenactment Regiment and the Civil War Heritage Foundation will once again host the event providing military and civilian encampments, programs, activities, demonstrations, a Sunday military sermon, a candlelight tour, a town ball game and a daily skirmish. As many as twenty northern and southern units may be on the Peterboro field. These units also provide stations for the Civil War Living History Day for fifth graders before the weekend event. There will also be an activity center for children on Saturday and Sunday.
One of the themes of the 2017 Peterboro Civil War Weekend is the Peterboro spark that added fuel to the ignition of the Civil War. Dreaming of Timbuctoo, a traveling exhibit from the John Brown Lives. project in Lake Placid NY will open in Peterboro on Civil War Weekend. A series of programs on the relationships and activities of John Brown, Gerrit Smith and the Secret Six will be ongoing.
In recognition of the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York State, programs on women in the Civil War will also be a featured theme. Authors and their publications will be centralized near the Main Gate and some will provide programs about their research and writing.
Civil War Round Tables, historical societies, period crafters, and vendors will provide exhibits, demonstrations and programs throughout the eight acres of activities involved in the weekend. The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Peterboro Area Museum will be open. The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers will provide Civil War music Saturday afternoon and a concert Saturday evening. Merry Mischief will present period music and fun Sunday afternoon.
Foods will be available at the Deli on the Green and from vendors. The Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department will sell chicken barbeque at mid-day on Saturday, and the Peterboro United Methodist Church will hold a pancake breakfast before the gates open on Sunday.
Admission gates open at 10 a.m. both days and close at 5 p.m. on Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The exhibits and activities (except food and shopping) are included in the $10 admission for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, and free for under age 6. $5 adult admission tickets will be available Feb. 1 by sending check or money order to Civil War Weekend, PO Box 6, Peterboro NY 13134.
Sponsors, volunteers, vendors, demonstrators, exhibitors, authors, historical societies, Round Tables are invited to sign up now for the event. For participation forms and event updates: www.PeterboroNY.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-280-8828.
-From Staff Reports
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