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Norlands to host Civil War reenactment June 17-18

The 6th Maine Battery will be on hand to fire their Parrott Rifle-cannon and a full-scale battle scenario will be staged each day.

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore will host its sixth Civil War reenactment weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18. The largest Civil War reenactment in Maine, Rally for Norlands features a wide variety of living history demonstrations, exhibits, and engaging activities recalling daily life in the Civil War. This family-friendly event is organized by the 3rd Maine Company A and 15th Alabama Company G to benefit Norlands, Maine’s oldest living history farm and museum.

Union and Confederate military and civilian reenactors from across New England will be camped on the grounds for the weekend. Cavalry units also plan to attend. Living historians will scrimmage with replica weaponry and perform drilling and firing demonstrations, and the 6th Maine Battery will be on hand to fire their Parrott Rifle-cannon. A full-scale battle scenario will be staged on the hay fields at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Ongoing presentations in the surgeon’s tent and in the field hospital will follow each battle.

Visitors will also enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, military field music, tours of the elegant 1867 Washburn estate, Victorian fashion shows, a period-correct sermon on temperance in the 1828 meeting house, blacksmithing, a historic dress-up tent, craft activities, visiting the one-room schoolhouse, old-fashioned games, guided nature walks, farm life in Norlands’ farmer’s cottage, and talks on Maine’s Joshua Chamberlain, Civil War firearms, and more.

On Saturday night, a gala affair will begin at 4 p.m. with dance lessons in the easy and fun country dance style. At 4:30 p.m., a Civil War-era period wedding will be reenacted by members of the 3rd ME Company A. At 5 p.m., a Pig Roast, a freshly prepared by Valley View Farm of Auburn, will be served; and at 6 p.m., there will be a lively gala barn dance with twirling hoop skirts, uniformed reenactors, and live fiddle music by the Racket Factory. Dancers of all ability levels are welcome and no costume is required.

Visitors may join in for the pig roast, the barn dance and/or the entire event. The contra dance is free with the purchase of a supper ticket or general event admission; otherwise, a $5 donation is suggested. The pig roast is $12 for adults or $8 for kids ages 12 and under. It’s best to purchase tickets for the pig roast in advance, since only a few tickets will be available on the day of the event. To purchase tickets for the pig roast, call Norlands at 897-4366 or see www.norlands.org.

History exhibits and demonstrations of traditional crafts will take place on Norlands’ picturesque front lawn. Participating vendors will include AgNO3 Lab Tintype Portraits with Cole Caswell, Phoenix Pottery with Sarah Delaney, Shaky Barn Farm Gardens, Malbons Mills Blacksmith Shop, Forrest Bonney Handcrafted Furniture, Creative Basketry by Diane Wheeler, BaahHummBuzz Farm Soaps with Karen Shumac, Good Tydden Farm with Noni Badershall, crocheting and paper craft with Stamping with Corinne,  and historical displays by the Androscoggin Historical Society, Jay Historical Society, Lillian Nordica Homestead Museum and Minot Historical Society.

The Jay-Livermore Falls Lions Club will serve hamburgers, hot dogs, French Fries, and drinks on Saturday. Other lunch and snack items will be for sale on Sunday, while supplies last. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful grounds.  

Gates will open at 9 a.m. each day. The daily rate will be $12 for adults or $7 for children ages 12 and under. A weekend pass is available for $18 for adults or $11 for children ages 12 and under. Admission for kids ages 5 and under is free. Enter the event at the admission gate located behind the church. Parking is in the field, across the street from the church. For the safety and comfort of all animals and visitors, no dogs or other pets except service animals will be allowed on the property during Rally for Norlands. For more information, including the complete schedule, see www.NORLANDS.org.

Located at 290 Norlands Road in Livermore, Norlands is a 445-acre museum and working farm that is the ancestral home of the Washburn family. While no battles took place at Norlands, the historic site has a real connection to the Civil War. The Washburns were one of the nations’ most influential political families of the 19th century and had a hand in transforming the nation at the time of the Civil War. Israel Washburn, Jr. was elected as governor of Maine in 1861 and quickly became known as Maine’s little-known giant of the Civil War. He sent more troops per capita than any other northern state. Cadwallader served as a Major General during the War. Elihu was instrumental in getting Abraham Lincoln elected to the Presidency. Samuel served in the U.S. Navy and was Acting Master of the ironclad gunboat, U.S.S. Galena, when it sustained fire on the James River. Caroline married Freeland Holmes, a doctor from Foxcroft, who volunteered with the 6th Maine Regiment. Freeland died in 1863, leaving Caroline as a widow with two small children. Learn more about the lives of the Washburn Family during the Civil War at this event.

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