By Leesha Faulkner (Contact) | Selma Times-Journal

Published Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Battle of Selma promises to become a living classroom for all ages, beginning April 17, beginning with living history school tours for children.

Jessica Hammond, who has worked on the project with her father, James, and others, said “school days” promises to become one the most exciting attractions during the two days of re-enactment. Children will go through living stations, enjoy present day and 1860s-style food, beverages, clothing and jewelry. More than 500 students from private and public schools have made reservations to attend.

Later Friday at 7 p.m. the big cannon will be fired, just before the fun kicks off at the re-enactors’ camp. “Unreconstructed” will perform, giving folks a chance to learn the Virginia Reel and the Tennessee Waltz, just in time for the big ball Saturday night.

Early Saturday morning, the settlers will begin moving around. For $7 admission (no Confederate script allowed) folks may tour the Confederate, Union and civilian camps. The camps also will present some new vendors this year, said Hammond, including The Rib Guy, who’ll have famous rib sandwiches and catfish. And for an authentic touch, camp vendors will serve root beer and kettle corn.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Confederate and Union soldiers will fight, dressed in period clothing and using period weapons.

“Kids and adults are welcome to come and stay the day, especially if it’s nice weather,” Hammond said.

After the battle on Saturday, folks will return to their tents and prepare for the grand military ball at Sturdivant Hall, which begins at 7 p.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Soldiers will be at the door to act as security. If you don’t have period dress, Hammond said, you might as well forget coming — it’s a requirement, including the $20 admission.

On Sunday, morning services will recall the bravery of those who fought and died in Old Live Oaks Cemetery — first in a period worship service on the battlegrounds at 9 a.m. and then at the cemetery at 10:30 a.m. A little free time to visit the sulter’s area for goodies and food will begin after the service. The Battle of Selma re-enactment will begin at 2 p.m., or what Hammond calls, “The real deal.”