Friends of Maple Grove hosted a Civil War Living History Weekend on Sunday, June 7, 2015.
Our Civil War event was most definitely a Queens' Highlight!
It was an educational wonder and provided everyone who attended a magnificent learning experience. The compliments I have received and continue to receive are extraordinary.
It was indeed a great deal of work and we are very grateful to Melrose Credit Union for funding the event. The 26 USCT group went beyond the normal routine and brought incredible exhibits and created memorable ceremonies! What a thrill to hear Frederick Douglass (Michael E. Crutchers Sr.) speak, witness the extremely dramatic presentation of Harriet Tubman (Carolyn Evans) and heard the musical talents of Joseph Becton. All were brought to the event courtesy of the 26th USCT and traveled far to be with us. The camp set up made one feel as if we had traveled back in time to 1863. The tents held unique Civil War artifacts that amazed everybody! There were many living historians who came and dressed in elaborate Civil War uniforms and clothing. The women provided a colorful back drop with their hoop skirts, bonnets and parasols.
I am deeply grateful to our board members who dressed up and helped with the event. Helen Day portrayed Mary Dennler and did a wonderful performance. Jo Anne Raskin also wore an elaborate costume and somehow managed to take beautiful photographs despite the wide hoop skirt. Steven Martinez and Shyloh Boursiquot wore Civil War uniforms and marched with the other soldiers and did us proud! Susan Horwich conducted another exhilarating doll workshop, creating handkerchief dolls that enthralled many.
Mr. Ludger Balan of the 26th USCT created two moving ceremonies during the day, one at 12 and another at 2:30. The earlier ceremony involved a Walking Tour to eight sites at Maple Grove associated with the Civil War. The crowds were led by a color guard and assisted by student members of the Immaculate Conception School Aquinas Honor Society who placed potted plants at the sites. The 2:30 ceremony included an opening introduction by Bonnie Dixon and a special presentation by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Rory Lancman who gave Maple Grove and the 26th USCT a Proclamation! There was a beautiful ceremony at the Shiloh Church Monument with the placement of a large floral wreath.
This event took many, many man hours but it was a well worth the effort and we can be extremely proud of what we are accomplishing! We are eternally grateful to Bonnie Dixon, her staff and the Maple Grove Cemetery Association for helping us continuously!
Thanks to all who came and helped. Carl Ballenas President of the Friends of Maple Grove