Civil War reenacting is a popular event. Some of the larger reenactments draw crowds of 30,000-40,000 people. Some of the largest around the country over the years have been at Gettysburg. Olustee (Florida) and others.
Olustee (commemorating the battle of Ocean Pond/Olustee which occurred on February 20, 1864) is said to the largest reenactment in the South. The reenactment in 2016 (February 12-14) will be their 40th annual event. But it wasn’t always as authentic as it is today. The first reenactment was held at halftime of a Florida/Florida State football game.
The Battle of Gettysburg reenactment is the largest in the country. At the 150th anniversary event in 2013, the reenactment coincided with the actual dates of the actual battle. An annual event held outside the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park, will be held this coming year on July 1-3. It will be the 153rd anniversary of the actual battle.
New Civil War reenactors are always at a premium. Volunteers are solicited at each and every event. A high percentage of reenactors have been doing this for years and years. They are aging. Replacing them will not be easy. Youngsters today are involved in most everything else. The “sport” is expensive. It is advised that those interested pick their side, Confederate or Union, and their unit first, as most have personnel who can advise what equipment a novice might need. It would be fruitless to purchase equipment that might not be authentic to the unit a person might be representing. Items that would not be appropriate for the period in the reenactment jargon is called a “farby” and must be avoided at all cost. Watches, modern eyeglasses, cell phones, and the like are farbies.
An estimated cost to outfit a beginner with musket, uniform and other require paraphernalia is between $1,500 and $2,300. Additional costs are required to participate in reenactments including registration fees, transportation to and from the event, and other associated costs. Sometimes a beginner can check the Civil War reenactor publications for the chance to pick up used equipment which might cost less.Whereas Time Magazine estimated there were 50,000 reenactors in the 1980s, it is believed that number is perhaps half that today.
An interested person should go to reenactments and/or attend the Remembrance Day Parade in Gettysburg on November 21, 2015 for a chance to talk to reenactors and get their questions answered.
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