Once a one-day affair, the event — billed as history come to life — has evolved to the point where it now encompasses an eclectic mix of programming.
“It’s about education and cultural tourism and it definitely is about history,” said Henry Bryant, BATL chairman. “We try to provide something for everybody, tweak it a little bit … that’s how we keep it fresh.”
This year’s BATL Gala will be held at East Lake Golf Club July 20. Proceeds will go toward the restoration of the Walker and McPherson monuments, erected in honor of the two generals killed there, on the battlefield.
Bryant and company’s agenda is also highlighted by the lineup of free author presentations — on three nights at three venues — examining flashpoint periods between the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. Atlanta native Jeffrey Haas is scheduled to appear at the DeKalb History Center Monday; Marc Wortman at the Carter Library July 18 and Mark Auslander at the Cyclorama July 22.
The centerpiece of BATL, its “Living History Experience,” will feature actors clad in period dress and other accoutrements of that time in two separate modes of theater July 21.
The frontlines showcase will feature soldiers and civilians in their element on and near the battlefield. The “Civil War to Civil Rights” experience will feature portrayals of historical figures — Abraham Lincoln among them — in the same vicinity.
As Bryant pointed out, both living history offerings are designed to be intricately authentic yet interactive.
“It really is an up close and personal experience,” he said. “You’re smelling things, touching things, hearing things as they happen … you’re sitting on a battlefield hearing songs you’ve heard before and, all of a sudden, this becomes an emotional experience.”
BATL Attendees can also partake of the multiple tours offered as well as a storytelling festival.
The BATL Doublequick 5K Race, across the battlefield, also makes its return July 21.
For tickets and more information, visit: www.batlevent.org.