MANSFIELD – The history lessons about the horrors of battle on display at this year’s Ohio Civil War Show are ones the event’s co-manager touts as a good reminder for those engulfed in the modern political climate.
“In today’s world where they’re taking monuments down and trying to forget our history, people need to see this,” Teresa Drushel said. “Especially the Civil War where it was brother against brother.”
Her father, Don Williams, created the event at the Richland County Fairgrounds more than four decades years ago. Last year’s show was canceled because of the COVID pandemic.
The 2021 Ohio Civil War Show will take place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 1 and again 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 2.
Admission is $7. Children 11 and younger are free. Visitors are asked to wear face masks. Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the grounds.
Cannon firings each day
Those who arrive at the fairgrounds will be greeted by an eight-cannon battery. Alongside them will be other artillery pieces, such as mortars, limbers and caissons.
Cannon firings will take place at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 1, then again at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. May 2.
“This is the only artillery show of this kind in the country where persons can view field guns, equipment and displays that relate to America’s wars from 1775 through 1945,” Drushel explained.
Since the point of cannon fire during wars was to kill or wound enemy soldiers, the show includes a Civil War hospital reenactment at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. May 1, then again 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. May 2. Visitors there will get to watch simulated limb amputations and other common medical procedures that took place in the war of North versus South.
“Along with this, there will several living history Civil War encampments depicting military life,” Drushel said.
Those include the playing of period music on harps, dulcimers, banjos and violins. Reproduction items and apparel will be on display by both military and civilian reenactors.
The show includes a 1776 Revolutionary War living history encampment that will feature military drills, musket firing and colonial period camp cooking. Reenactors will explain various period military attire and offer other demonstrations.
Other wars included
As the show has grown over the years, encampments from WWI and WWII have been added.
The inclusion of newer wars has come about in recent years as younger collectors have begun building arsenals of the less-expensive memorabilia — the more recent the war, the less pricey the artifacts.
“The new interest is really exciting,” Drushel said. “I think it’s going to continue to grow for years to come.”
Encampments, weapons and vehicles from those wars will allow guests to better understand how soldiers from both the Allied and Axis — including the Entente before — lived and survived during their deployments.
A special performance will take place at 4:30 p.m. May 1 as soldiers from both the 36th U.S. Infantry Division and the 100th Jäger German Unit face off in a WWII small-arms demonstration.
Other special demonstrations include a Camp Chase fife and drum corps presentation at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. May 1.; a recital of the Gettysburg Address at noon both days; and a church service at 10 a.m. May 2.
700 tables of memorabilia
Organizers believe the Ohio Civil War Show is the largest of its kind as it boasts more than 700 tables of military memorabilia from 1775 through 1945 to buy, sell, trade and display. Vendors actually had to be reduced from prior years’ numbers because of the pandemic.
“We’ve maxed out on our tables because of COVID since we had to take out one row,” Drushel said.
Items such as books, images, photographs, paper goods, Civil War prints and some apparel will be available to the public and collectors.
Watching the displays and buying souvenirs to take home might be a little different during the pandemic, but organizers hope the experience will be just as memorable for all who attend.
“I think the guests will come and stay as safe as they can and keep their distance,” Drushel said. “Especially with the outside encampments and events, I think they will feel safe and enjoy the show.”
For more information, visit the show online at ohiocivilwarshow.com.
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Ohio Civil War Show offers lessons ‘people need to see’