Johnny comes marching home again at Jim Thorpe High School, where from Thursday evening, Oct. 28 though Sunday morning, Oct. 31, its surrounding woods become the encampment of a troop of Civil War reenactors.
The Civil War Reenactment Encampment, which will be open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 30, features: Union and Confederate soldiers, a Surgeon's Display, Quartermaster's Tent, Recruiting Lieutenant and Sanitary Commission Kitchen will be set up.
There will be displays inside the school demonstrating news from the homefront, a Lady's Aid Society display, children's games and clothing, a period school and parlor pastimes including an array of popular fortune telling games and devices. The Multipurpose Room will house a mini-museum of original Civil War memorabilia and artifacts. On Friday, Jim Thorpe High School history and English classes will visit the encampment.
On Saturday at 11 a.m., there will be a Civil War period fashion show in the Multipurpose Room. From 1:30 2:30 p.m. a dance instruction class, with professional dancemasters David and LuAnn Swonger, will be held in the Commons. The day will conclude with dancing to period live music at a Civil War Harvest Ball at the Jim Thorpe High School Commons from 7 to 10 p.m. Ball attendees are requested to wear period or semiformal attire.
The Civil War Encampment evolved as an outgrowth of history teacher Chris Holub's Civil War class at Jim Thorpe High School. Holub, a Civil War enthusiast since his youth, a re-enactor at Camp Geiger Lehigh Valley Civil War Days in Whitehall for 14 years, helped create a Civil War college prep course at JTHS six years ago.
"I proposed a Civil War class because it is a big interest for me," Holub said. "The Civil War has interested me since I was a kid. It was one of the most dramatic events in the history of the United States. Because of the Civil War, a lot of who we are was determined. We resolved one of the hugest problems of our country which was slavery. There's so much about it, the people, the drama, there's an awful lot to study. It's captured my attention.
Last year, Anna Domingo and Marissa Farra, seniors who fell in love with Civil War history in 11th grade while taking Holub's course on the war, asked him if the reenactment could be held at JTHS.
After a year of planning, and with the enthusiastic support of Holub, the school principal, staff and members of the local reenacting community, the girls' dream of planning and coordinating a community-wide event is coming to fruition. They are particularly enthusiastic as they have never been to a Civil War reenactment.
The Encampment will tied into local Civil War history. There will be an exhibit on the role of the Union volunteers from the Northern Liberties that suffered so severely that none came back whole, and the village soon disappeared.
Jim Thorpe High School is at One Olympian Way in East Jim Thorpe. Visiting the Encampment, which will be open rain or shine on Saturday, is free. There is a charge for the Fashion Show, dance instruction, and the Ball. Hot dogs and drinks will be available. The Friends of Camp Geiger will return to Lehigh Valley Civil War Days on June 11-12, 2011 in Whitehall.