From staff reports
LEWISTOWN - The Juniata Valley's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States continues this week with the Fourth Annual "Sparks In The Park" Civil War encampment and living history event, scheduled Friday through Sunday at Kish Park in Derry Township.
The theme of the event is an historical "what if?" involving a Confederate raid of the Juniata Valley aimed at capturing or destroying the Freedom Forge Iron Works in Mifflin County. Some historical documents suggest the idea may not be too far fetched, indicating Confederate General Robert E. Lee actively considered ways to disrupt Union rail lines and iron works all the way from Harrisburg to Altoona during the 1863 invasion of Pennsylvania that ultimately led to the epic battle at Gettysburg.
Sentinel file photo
Members of Mifflin County’s 148th PA Regiment Field Hospital Civil War Re-enactment Unit/Venture Crew will team up with other Union and Confederate re-enactors for the Fourth Annual Sparks in The Park event, scheduled Friday through Sunday at Kish Park in Derry Township. Admission to the event is free.
The event will include living history encampments, military demonstrations and examples of daily life during the Civil War era, as well as skirmishes between Union and Confederate forces on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Hosted by the 148th PA Regiment Field Hospital Living History Unit/Venture Crew, admission to the public is free throughout the weekend.
Some of the other area re-enactment units slated to participate in the event include Juniata County's own 5th Texas Confederates, the 125th Pennsylvania Volunteers and the 46th Regimental Band. President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Civil War enthusiast Ralph Lincoln, also is scheduled to make appearances throughout the event. Food concessions also will be available from the Burnham Lions Club and Lewistown Creamery throughout the weekend.
Another highlight of the weekend event is a Civil War era ball dance slated for Saturday evening. Dance master Bruce Young will again be on hand to provide instruction on 19th century ball dancing while accompanied by period music.
The evening ball will be held inside the Green Pavilion at the park and is also open to the public. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Area residents may come in modern-day attire, or dress up in a Civil War costume or uniform.
Participants and spectators at the event are reminded that the Stone Arch Players/Theater in The Park also are holding stage performances on Friday and Saturday evenings. In order to avoid any potential disruption of these performances, there will be no discharge of black powder firearms or cannons permitted after 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The schedule of activities for the weekend event is as follows:
Friday, May 3
10 a.m.-4 p.m. - Living history and military demonstrations for area schools
5-8 p.m. - Living history and military demonstrations for the general public
Saturday, May 4
10 a.m.-1 p.m. - Camp opens, living history for general public
2-3 p.m. - Battle demonstration, "Confederates raid Derry Township"
3-4 p.m. - Medical demonstration
7 - 10:30 p.m. Civil War ball dance, inside the Green Pavilion. The evening ball is also open to public. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Sunday, May 5
10 a.m.-noon - Camp opens, living history for general public
2-3 p.m. - Battle demonstration, "The Union strikes back"
3-4 p.m. - Medical demonstration
4-6:30 p.m. Camp tear-down and clean up
Some of the area organizations and businesses helping to support the event include Barrett Enterprises, Brannan & Royer Septic Service, Bread of Life Restaurant, the Burnham, Chief Logan, Milroy and Port Royal Lions Clubs, Burnham OIP, Captain Jack's Distributors, Dan Bennett - State Farm Insurance, Delgrosso's Amusement Park, Derry Township Fire Police, Downtown OIP & Grille, Dr. John Smolcic General Dentistry, Fame EMS, Foxpro Inc., Giant Foods, Lewistown Creamery, Lewistown Printing, Mac's Clothing, Metzler Forest Products, Mifflin Hill Beverage, Miller Cinemas, Nace's Country Store, Port Royal Speedway, Quality Inn - Burnham, Sheetz, Wal-Mart and Zimmerman Wholesale.
For more information about the event, contact Frank Jost at 543-0921 or Lamar Richard at 242-1358.