July 25, 2011

150th Anniversary Commemoration Reenactment of the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run Attended by More than 25,000 Participants July 23-24, 2011

PRINCE WILLIAM & MANASSAS, Va., July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the same adverse conditions faced by the green Confederate and Federal recruits who fought the first major battle of the American Civil War on July 21, 1861, more than 25,000 participants from the U.S. and around the world chose to brave the extreme heat to experience the impact of the battle.

An atypical "heat dome" across the eastern section of the U.S. caused the temperature to exceed 105 degrees on Saturday and the high 90s on Sunday. The conditions did not deter more than 6,500 Civil War reenactors who participated in the first reenactment of the battle in Prince William County in 50 years.

Dressed in period attire and carrying equipment, weaponry and supplies replicating those used in 1861, the reenactors were encamped for as many as four days providing living history for visitors as well as fighting the battle for up to two hours on two different days to recreate the conflict.

Spectator estimates total 11,000 on Saturday and 7,500 more on Sunday. More than 300 volunteers served in a variety of capacities. Despite the extreme weather conditions, an estimated 25,000 participants and 350 Calvary horses, only 248 people were treated on site at the medical tents with 13 persons transported to Prince William Hospital for further evaluation. The on-site veterinarian treated three horses for mild injuries. Thanks to preparedness and rapid response by Prince William County's Public Safety and Emergency Management team, and the Prince William Hospital, all patients were treated and released the same day. All participants at the reenactment were welcome to use the misting tents and cooling stations. Complimentary bottles of water were provided by Prince William Hospital.

According to Ann Marie Maher, Executive Director of Discover Prince William & Manassas, the region's tourism marketing organization and agency responsible for planning and executing the reenactment and promoting the more than 40 events over the weekend: "We are extremely grateful to all those who played their part in making the commemorative events and reenactment such an outstanding success. From the reenactors, spectators, vendors, staff, contractors, partners and volunteers who braved the heat, to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the City of Manassas, and our sponsors, to the cooperation of at least 30 different organizations which had met for three years to create the events. In these four days, it is estimated that the community realized a $23.5 million economic boost from tourism."

"Prince William and Manassas played an important role in the Civil War and that stands true today as we interpret our Civil War history. With the 150th Anniversary Commemorative events we have planned over the next four years, the Manassas National Battlefield Park and the more than 25 Civil War sites on The Prince William County Civil War Heritage Trail, we feel that it is our responsibility to preserve, engage, enlighten and educate visitors with our Civil War heritage and history. We welcome visitors year-round to see our historic sites and battlefields, visit our museums, explore our quaint main streets and enjoy extraordinary scenic beauty and outdoor recreation." said Steve Nelson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Discover Prince William & Manassas.

Melissa Belanger, a volunteer over the weekend said: "Our visitors were awestruck by what they just experienced in seeing the battle come to life. The thunder of hooves from the 350 horses and riders in the cavalry, the percussion, fire and flash of cannon, the crack of rifles, and the glint of sunlight on drawn swords was an experience unlike anything found anywhere else in the world."

Spectator, Tricia Morton of Leesburg, VA said: "I really enjoyed the Living History tents at the Reenactment presenting varied points of view and the African American experience." First-person interactive experiences included Civil War medicine, children's games of the time, a Catholic mass in Latin, a Protestant church service replicating a Sunday morning soldier's service in 1861, and period music. First person experiences included Frederick Douglass portrayed by LeCount Holmes Jr., and the African American story of a free man of color who owned land in Prince William County that became part of the battlefield presented by Dr. Anita Henderson. And, the female perspective was presented by Joyce Henry portraying the story of Loreta Vasquez who masqueraded as a man to fight for the Confederacy.

The four-day commemoration began on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at Manassas National Battlefield Park and continued through Sunday, July 24, 2011. Events were held at Prince William County's historic properties, within the City of Manassas and included: the 1911 Jubilee of Peace reenactment, a Castleton Festival concert at the Hylton Performing Arts Center with Denyce Graves and Maestro Lorin Maazel, a screening of the director's cut of "Gods and Generals" with director Ron Maxwell, and the Reenactment at Pageland Farm in Prince William County near The Manassas National Battlefield Park.

Sesquicentennial events will continue through April 09, 2015, the 150th anniversary date of the surrender at Appomattox throughout Prince William County and Manassas and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Visit www.manassasbullrun.com, friend us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pwcmanassas) or follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/visitPWC).

Discover Prince William and Manassas is the area's tourism marketing organization promoting Prince William County and the City of Manassas, Virginia located just 29 miles from Washington, D.C.

SOURCE Discover Prince William & Manassas