Only a short drive from almost everywhere in Ohio, Sidney and the surrounding area offers an incredible variety of fun close to home. Outdoor concerts, festivals, and recreation of all varieties await you in west central Ohio.
The Shelby County Historical Society in cooperation with the City of Sidney, is hosting a Civil War Living History Weekend on Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18. Sidney’s 230 acre Tawawa Civic Park will serve as the focal point for this weekend where visitors will find military and civilian encampments and the battlegrounds where Union and Confederate forces will face off against each other.
Highlighting this living history weekend that has been two years in the making, include three major battles (including a night battle Saturday evening). It will also include a number of spontaneous skirmishes, a period-specific band concert, and period Sunday morning church services.
The one-hour long major battle scenes will occur at 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday. As Union and Confederate soldiers actively patrol each day, skirmishes are sure to break out as they encounter each other in the wooded park. Cannon and rifle fire will add to the realism of these experiences. The night-time battle is expected to be incredibly dramatic.
On Saturday evening, the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) Regimental Band is scheduled to perform in concert. The 73rd OVI Regimental Band was established in 2011 and exists to enrich, edify, and entertain the modern public with historically authentic music and playing techniques contemporary of the time period of the War of the Rebellion. The band presents their music, when possible, through performance with instrumentation typical of military regimental brass bands of that era.
On Sunday morning, the public is invited to participate in period specific church services. A Catholic Mass will be celebrated in Latin beginning at 7:15 a.m., followed by a Baptist service at 8:15 a.m.
Also planned for the weekend is a series of educational programs that will feature some first-person accounts as well as a number of educational presentations about the war. Included in the presentations will be first-person accounts of Captain Edmund Edgar Nutt – a Union officer from Shelby County; Harriet Beecher Stowe – a notable author best known for her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and, Johnny Clem – sometimes called the Drummer Boy of Shiloh who was the youngest person ever to vote for President and the last Civil War veteran to retire from the Army. There will also be presentations on the life of a typical Civil War soldier; Schultz’s Battery; Clement Valandingham; and, a presentation offering a nurse’s perspective on the medical practices of the Civil War.
Sidney’s Tawawa Park is the perfect setting for this Civil War reenactment according to J.R. Sharp, a Confederate reenactor whose Company B of the 1st Tennessee Infantry encamped on the site last year. Captain Sharp has been reenacting for two decades and is on the committee organizing this event. “The park’s 230 acres are ideal for such an event,” Sharp stated.
“There is no question that the park’s unique terrain features, including Tawawa Creek, Amos Lake, the valley and the overlooking bluffs will provide both the reenactors and spectators with a unique experience,” agreed Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst. Barhorst, a former history teacher and avid history buff. Barhorst is chairing the organizing committee.
The Civil War Living History Weekend will also feature activities on other sites away from Tawawa Park. Downtown Sidney’s Monumental Building (133 South Main Avenue), originally constructed as a memorial to honor Shelby County’s Civil War dead, will welcome guests to its Tablet Room where the “boys” from Shelby County who died during the war have their names inscribed on marble tablets. The Monumental Building’s Tablet Room will be open Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
For additional information about Sidney’s Civil War Living History Weekend including maps, schedules, and more, visit their web site at www.sidneycivilwar.org.
For every leisure and recreation interest, the possibilities are many in Sidney. Additional information about the Civil War Living History Weekend and all of the incredible attractions in west central Ohio can be found on the newly redesigned web site of the Sidney Visitors Bureau at VisitSidneyShelby.com. A quick review of the web calendar there is sure to entice you with an eye-popping array of seasonal fun. It’s all happening in Sidney Ohio – where “We’re waiting for you” to stop by for a visit.