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Civil War re-enactment Sunday at Cultural Park

By Staff | May 27, 2016

Step back in time on Sunday and watch a segment of the Civil War unfold in Cape Coral.

The Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library will host “Nation Divided,” a Civil War re-enactment camp and battles, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Cultural Park Theatre.

“We thought it’d be a great way to start the weekend for the pubic,” Ralph Santillo, founder and president of the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library, said. “This is the first time for us.”

Cost is $10 per carload and includes parking and admission.

“We don’t care if you’ve got 10 people in your car, we’ll let you in,” he said.

Both educational and entertaining, it will feature a re-enactment of an actual battle that took place in Fort Myers during the war. Area groups, like the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution, will join professional actors and don period clothing to re-live out the past.

“They’ll set up a camp that people can go through and see how they lived,” Santillo said.

“They’ll be able to talk to all of the re-enactment actors,” he added.

At about 2 p.m., the battle will kick off between the Union and the Confederacy.

“There’ll be cannons – real Civil War cannons,” Santillo said.

The battle will last for about two hours, with the “camps” to remain open until 5 p.m.

Bleacher seats will be available for $2.

“We recommend people bring their own chairs,” he said.

Santillo noted that this was an interesting time for the United States.

“It was the North and the South,” he said. “There were brothers who fought against each other and families that fought against each other – it split families up during that time period.”

The program will include Trooping of the Colors, Presentation of Wreath in memory of the Patriots who lost their lives, the Battle of Fort Myers re-enactment and a concert by the Blue Dirt Dixieland Band.

“We’re hoping to get a lot of kids,” Santillo said.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died during the Civil War.

“This is a part of our country’s history and there’s nothing more fitting to celebrate Memorial Day than this particular time period,” he said. “They were all American soldiers.”

Organizers are prepared for an estimated 500 attendees.

“I’m hoping we get over 500,” Santillo said. “We would like to do it annually.

For more information, contact (239) 910-5699 or visit the website: swfmm.org.

Cultural Park Theatre is at 528 Cultural Park Blvd.