The government shutdown that closed the country’s national parks to visitors has had little impact on the nation’s only public/private park in Middletown, Va., where the annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek is scheduled for Oct. 19 and 20.
“Hell, no,” said Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation retail manager Patrick Kehoe when asked if the event was canceled. “The reenactment is definitely on. It is our battlefield. We own it.”
Unlike every other national park, the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, created in 2002, is operated as a partnership of the Park Service and several non-government entities including the battlefield foundation, Belle Grove Historic Plantation and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Each individual member continues to own and manage its own property and the reenactment, the major annual fund raiser for the battlefield foundation, is expected to go on as usual. The only entity closed at this national park is the Park Service information office.
Each year, the event typically draws about 10,000 spectators to watch the battles play out on acres of grassy fields where the battle actually took place 149 years ago. It has long been a favorite with re-enactors who usually number about 3,000 and bring with them about 150 horses and 50 canons.