|Albert Sailhorst wrote:
Hank, I don't know where your CW reenactments take place, but as an active reenactor, specifically, with an artillery unit, my feelings are hurt by your comment "pretty much a repetitive exercise in pyrotechnics."
The amount of time, planning and coordination that go into a particular battle is overwhelming. The planning and coordination of the event iteself (getting units to show up, paying bounties, contracting vendors and entertainment for the public, purchasing insurance, supplies, hay, straw, water, food, security) begins nealry a year before the event date.
Reeneactors spend boat-loads of dollars on their gear and spend our money in the local areas while we are there. We spend money on gas to get to events. We sleep in the rain, the heat and the snow. We get eaten alive by mosquitos, ticks and chiggers. We buy our powder, our own guns/cannons/horses.....We do programs for schools, libraries, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th. We serve as Honor Guards at funerals.
We don't do these things for a "repetitive exercise in pyrotechnics". We do it because we love history. We do it to try, even minutely, to feel like a soldier would have felt. We do it to teach. We answer questions from the public ("Is that a real fire?", "Do you REALLY eat that food?", "Did you really camp out here last night?"). We do it because it's a hobby. We do it to honor our ancestors and all of America's heroes. 99% of the time, we break even or loose money (remember, we get paid in gun powder or sometimes cash. We are also a non-profit organization, so all powder/cash goes to the Unit, not to the reenactors). Believe me, if all we wanted were pyrotechnics, we wouldn't loose money or suffer any other hardship to do it.
I did not mean to hijack the thread, but I do wish to disspell the idea that we put on a fireworks show.
Well said, my friend!