The Yankees knew it as Bull Run. The victorious Rebels called it the Battle of Manassas. History remembers it as the first major land battle of the Civil War. That was 125 years ago this weekend, and folks around these parts don't aim to forget. They've cooked up a two-day observance in and around Manassas:
At Manassas Battlefield Park there'll be free concerts, artillery firing demonstrations on the half hour, living history exhibits and bus and walking tours of the battlefield. Activities are from 9 to 5 Saturday and Sunday. To get there, take Manassas National Battlefield Park Exit off I-66. 703/754-7107.
At Northern Virginia College, within easy walking distance of the park site, you can see living history displays and take tethered hot air balloon or carriage rides from 9 to 5 Saturday and Sunday. $2 ($1 for seniors and children).
*The city of Manassas is celebrating throughout the weekend. Highlights include walking tours, live music and a reenactment of the 1911 Manassas Jubilee of Peace (Saturday at 3:30 at the Old Prince William Court House, Lee and Grant avenues). Manassas is 5 miles south of the battlefield via Route 234. For more information on other city events, call 703/368-1873.
*Six bands -- including the Stonewall Brigade Reenactment Band, which boasts it's the oldest continuous band in the country -- play in a grand concert tattoo Saturday at 7 at Ben Lomond District Park (from the battlefield, take Route 234 south one mile to left on Sudley Manor Drive to park). Tickets -- $2.50 for adults, $1 for children -- are available at the park. 703/361-7126.
*The big event is Sunday from 1 to 3:30, when 5,000 Civil War buffs throw on blue or grey uniforms to re-enact the battle. The reenactment is at Westfields about five miles from the original site. A half million rounds of ammuntion will be fired in the largest mock battle of its kind in the nation. Westfields lies about three miles north of Centreville on Route 28. Tickets, $3; $2 for seniors and students, are available at the gate. It's recommended you show up early and bring a picnic. (You can hear traffic reports and play by play of the battle on WDCT/1310 AM). 276-1861.