GCC plans big Civil War encampment in Medina
Battles, Parade, Cotillion Ball highlight April 26-28 events
MEDINA – Civil War re-enactors will battle twice in Medina over the April 26-28 weekend, a Civil War encampment that also will feature a parade and cotillion ball.
Plans are being finalized for the three-day event at Genesee Community College’s campus center on Route 31A. Re-enactors, both Union and Confederate, will set up camp Friday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. Visitors are invited to view ongoing exhibits inside the Medina center at 11470 Maple Ridge Rd.
Exhibits will include Civil War dioramas, artifacts from a New York Infantry unit, period medical tools and children’s games. There will be ongoing demonstrations of blacksmithing, candle-making, period music and mortuary arts.
On Saturday, camps open at 9 a.m. followed by a parade through downtown Medina from 10 to 11 a.m.
“The parade gives the community a chance to really experience Civil War history in a unique way,” said GCC historian Derek Maxfield. “We’ve learned the route we’ve mapped for the parade is the same route Medina Company D of the 28th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment used when they went off to fight in the Civil War in 1861.”
During the parade 152 years ago, the women of Medina stopped the group to give Company D Captain Erwin Bowen a sword.
“Captain Bowen’s great-great granddaughter Mary Zimmerman Robinson is going to do the same thing during our parade,” Maxfield said. “She’ll present a sword to Capt. Bowen, as played by re-enactor Simon Taylor. It should be a touching moment.”
The parade will be true to 19th Century history, featuring re-enactors in uniform, horses, carriages and the Excelsior Fife and Drum Corps. It will end at the Railroad Museum, which was the depot the Civil War soldiers marched to when they left town.
Robinson is displaying her family artifacts. Visitors can also check out booths by the Medina Sandstone Society and Medina Historical Society, Medina RR Museum, Orleans Renaissance Group, Holland Land Office and Museum, Echoes Through Time Museum, Cobblestone Society and Rochester Museum of Military History.
In addition, a number of presentations are planned throughout the weekend, including:
Eleanor Stearns portraying Clara Barton
Tom Schobert portraying General Robert E. Lee
Derek Maxfield “Understanding the Emancipation Proclamation after 150 years”
Tom Rivers “Why Mt. Albion Tower may be the finest Civil War Memorial”
Dee Robinson “Women and the Civil War”
Donna LaValle “Proper Dress for the Civil War Lady Re-enactor”
Victorian fashion will be in full view Saturday evening during a Victorian Cotillion.
“We’re hoping some members of the community will join us in period costume,” Maxfield said.
The ball will be held in the Central Tent. Buffalo’s City Fiddle, which specializes in period balls, will provide the music. The ball runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Organizers are making it easy for parents to attend. During the ball, children’s activities will be offered inside the Campus Center.
Of course, no Civil War encampment is complete without the recreation of battle. Re-enactors will skirmish twice during the weekend, from 2 to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
“The schedule is jam-packed,” Maxfield said. “There really is something for everybody. It should be a fantastic weekend.”