Organizers called off War Between the States Day, originally set for Sept. 18, fearing flooding as the remnants of Hurricane Ivan moved through the area. Now that the event is the day before Halloween, City Manager John Culpepper said he is incorporating a fall festival and old-fashioned Halloween theme.
“We will fight the war during the day and trick-or-treat that night,” he said. “Trick-or-treating is not like it used to be where you got a popcorn ball or a piece of candy.
“This year marks the fourth annual event to remember the Civil War battle through one day of living history activities; about 150,000 troops were involved in the September 1863 battle that claimed 34,000 casualties.”
War Between the States Day
When: Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Downtown Chickamauga on Ga. 341
For more information, call (706) 375-3177.
Organizers use the event to showcase the city’s history and to bolster tourism.
Activities during the day will include re-enactors demonstrating refugee camp life, artillery firing, soldier camp life and period food. Refugee camps will represent life for area farm families affected by the battle, he said.
Event activities are geared for the entire family, children are invited to participate, he said.
The city will deck out downtown in Halloween and fall decorations.
“We are looking at what kind of Halloween festival people had in the 1870s and 1880s,” Culpepper said. “We will put a period Halloween spin on the (period) ball (at 7 p.m. at the Gordon-Lee Mansion).”
He said local merchants are excited about the theme.
“We will make jack-o-lanterns, hang ghosts in the trees and bob for apples, like an old-fashioned Halloween celebration,” Culpepper said. “I think it would be a good opportunity to do something people have not seen, including myself.”
He also hopes to have hayrides for children and a bonfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, he said.
“We could take the hayride through Chickamauga cemetery where an old Civil War soldier (a re-enactor) rises up (from a grave),” he said “We have kicked around the idea of a ghost walk, possibly through Chickamauga cemetery.”
Culpepper asks anyone with knowledge about how area residents celebrated Halloween in the late 1800s to call him at Chickamauga City Hall at (706) 375-7702.
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