Blue & Gray Saturday — billed as a free family fun day — is set to take over the outdoor fringes of the Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. The event marks the city’s latest effort in commemorating the sesquicentennial of the War Between the States and the last of three monthly Blue & Gray Saturdays this summer.
“Every anniversary is an opportunity to reflect,” said Blue & Gray curator Kimberly Brigance. “The war ended 150 years ago, but it still reverberates with us today.”
Brigance, director of historic resources and programs at Heritage, called Saturday’s event more of a living history than a conventional, staged commemorative production.
“Re-enactors will be dressed in period clothing and discussing arms, armament, social history and the Civil War in Sandy Springs,” she said. “Research is the most important aspect of putting together a public history program.
“Without relating it to the actual historical events — the people and the place — then you just have a bunch of people walking around in costumes for no good reason.”
With that in mind, Blue & Gray day aims to afford attendees’ a detailed journey back to the aforementioned time. An array of crafts and demonstrations led by the day’s role players are part of the agenda. Spectators will be given opportunities to decode covert wartime messages, don disguises and load up a haversack, among other interactive exercises.
The goal is to revisit a day in the life of summer 1864, when Sandy Springs — then a small farming community — was overrun by more than 100,000 Union soldiers.
Some welcomed the troops’ arrival and took refuge behind their lines while most tried to simply survive by saving what food they could from the blue-clad interlopers, according to a museum account of the incident. Saturday’s moderately scaled recreation at the Heritage Museum will feature a dozen participants hailing from across metro Atlanta.
“They will be talking to our visitors about life in the federal army … including Marvin Greer from the Atlanta History Center, who will discuss the unique aspects of life as an African-American soldier,” Brigance said.
There will also be programming available to educate attendees about the Confederate Militia assigned to guard crossings of the Chattahoochee River.
The interior of the museum — its Civil War exhibit the main attraction — will also be open to visitors Saturday.
Organizers are expecting a crowd of about 150 people, similar to the previous two Blue & Gray outings.
Brigance said this month’s event just may be the best one yet.
“What I want people to [take away from it] is to understand that history happened on the very spot they live,” she said. “All of Georgia was a battleground and the fighting was done on the land where women and children were trying to survive.
“I want them to be inspired to care and preserve our historic places and the stories of our past for future generations.”
If you go:
o What: Blue & Gray Saturday Family Fun Day
o When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
o Where: Heritage Sandy Springs Museum, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle
o Admission: free
o Information: www.heritagesandysprings.org