Alive with history: Bentonville fall festival

Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer

October 23, 2013

Saturday license plates from as far away as Connecticut were in the parking lot of the North Carolina Historical SiteBentonville Battlefield and groups including Boy Scouts from Cary came down to see the living history right in our own backyard.

The staff at Bentonville provided an exceptional chance for families and friends to gather to learn through living history this weekend. Bentonville Battlefield and the Harper House grounds were teeming with people on Saturday, Oct. 19. Over 1,000 people showed up for the Fall Festival and Living History activities that included mule driven wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, a quilting exhibit, raffles for quilts as fundraisers, and cooking in the hearth in the Harper House’s detached kitchen. The overcast weather was somewhat of a hindrance to some of the planned activities, but overall the public had a wonderful opportunity to glimpse into the past.

This is the second year that the Harper House and Battlefield has had fall festival the third weekend in October, said Amanda Brantley in a telephone interview on Tuesday. The event is staffed by the North Carolina Historical Site’s staff and is something that helped people learn about the history of the area and the time period. This area hosted the last of the full-scale action at the end of the Civil War until General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865. This was the largest battle fought in the Civil War in North Carolina.

“We also have a Christmas open house coming up on Dec. 7 and that will be our last event of the year. The staff will also be giving guided battlefield tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on that day,” said Brantley. She said that events are usually just staff events, but that they do take volunteers as well.

The Christmas event is going to be a Holiday Open house and costumed interpreters will be available during the event. The kitchen will be decorated in Christmas decorations from the time including using natural elements such as magnolia, holly, popcorn strands, and fruits. Cookies and cider will be provided. Costumed interpreters, garbed as soldiers, will be on hand to answer questions regarding how a soldier might spend time on furlough with family and friends.

There is no admission to this event; however, donations are greatly appreciated. For more information visit call the office of the site Tuesday though Saturday at 910-594-0789