The best travel advice for the next few days is not to travel, but the four days of activities marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle at Manassas won’t wait on the weather. Thousands will be heading to events starting today. Here’s some information for those going to them or just trying to avoid the traffic.
First and foremost is this advice from the Capital Weather Gang: Excessive heat warnings are in effect from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, when heat indices may near or exceed 110 degrees. If you must be outside for extended periods of time, hydrate frequently and take indoor breaks. We have the chance to challenge high temperature records and may also set record high minimum (night time) temperatures. This heat and humidity fest only slowly fades into early next week.
Focal points for the anniversary events are Manassas National Battlefield Park, Old Town Manassas and the Pageland Farm, just west of the battlefield park. Planners say the reenactments Saturday and Sunday at the farm are likely to draw more than 10,000 people.
Parking for those events will be on the grounds of the Jiffy Lube Live pavilion, 7800 Cellar Door Dr., Bristow. Visitors to events in Old Town Manassas can park at the Prince William County Fairgrounds, 10624 Dumfries Rd., Manassas. At the battlefield park, north of Interstate 66, there’s a large parking area on Chinn Ridge off Sudley Road (Route 234). Many of these anniversary events involve fees.
Though the events are in Prince William County, Fairfax County also is concerned about the potential traffic and put out this alert:
Drivers in the area of Lee Highway/Route 29, Sudley Road/Route 234 and throughout Manassas National Battlefield Park area can expect major congestion and delays due to the event and are encouraged to avoid the area if possible. Those driving in these areas need to drive with care, follow police direction and remain alert for pedestrians traversing and crossing roadways.
It is also anticipated that the observance may cause traffic related back-ups and delays in Fairfax County along portions of Lee Highway, Lee Jackson Highway and I-66. Please allow plenty of time if traveling to or near the observance.
Many events span the entire four days. Here are a few specifics.
Events are more widely distributed, but the focus is on Old Town Manassas and the battlefield park. A parade of Civil War reenactors is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon in Old Town Manassas. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., people will be visiting Camp Manassas, a 26-acre living history encampment at the Jennie Dean Historic Site, 9601 Wellington Rd., Manassas. (The camp is open Thursday through Sunday.)
At the battlefield park, guided tours and living history shows are scheduled during the morning. An evening program begins at 6 p.m.
The battle reenactment at Pageland Farm takes place both days this weekend. Jiffy Lube Live opens for parking at 6 a.m. Take the shuttle buses to the reenactment site, which opens at 6:30 a.m.
The reenactment begins at 9:30 a.m., and sponsors recommend arriving before 9 a.m. Combat is scheduled to end at noon, and the site will close to the public at 2 p.m. The shuttle service ends at 3 p.m. See a pdf map and schedule.