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Civil War weekend planned in Henrico

The Civil War is returning to Henrico later this month.

As part of its 400th anniversary, Henrico County will host a series of free events Sept. 23-25 designed to spotlight the county’s role in the war and educate citizens through real-life interactions.

The weekend will begin with a symposium – “Henrico County: Gateway to Richmond” – at the Henrico Theatre in Highland Springs Sept. 23, featuring four Civil War historians, who will address various aspects of the war in Henrico.

The following day at Tree Hill Farm on Route 5 in western Varina, visitors will be able to experience what life was like for soldiers during the war, as part of an encampment on the site by re-enactors and a variety of other activities.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, National Park Service rangers will give tours of Fort Harrison in Varina, to mark the 147th anniversary of the 1864 battles there. Union and Confederate re-enactors will perform rifle- and cannon-firing exhibitions. Tours of the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm site also will be available.

County officials hope to attract a near-capacity crowd for the Friday symposium, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and feature:

• National Park Service historian Frank O’Reilly (10:30 a.m.),who will discuss the Battle of Malvern Hill, about which he is writing a book;

• John Coski (11:40 a.m.), a historian from the Museum of the Confederacy, who will discuss naval operations on the James River during the war;

• National Park Service historian Robert E.L. Krick (2 p.m.), who will discuss the Battle of Yellow Tavern in northern Henrico;

• and historian Jimmy Price (3:10 p.m.), author of the upcoming “The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs by the Sword,” who will discuss that battle.

The event will be moderated by Andrew Talkov, the exhibit coordinator for Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial at the Virginia Historical Society. Speakers will host question-and-answer sessions following their remarks, and a book signing will follow at 4 p.m.

Reservations are free but required for admittance; those who wish to attend may call 328-4491 to reserve a spot.

The Tree Hill Farm event “will be a little friendlier to those who don’t know a lot about the Civil War in general,” said Sam McKelvey, the Dabbs House Museum site manager who organized the planning efforts for the three events. The site, which overlooks the James River and the Richmond skyline, is the site at which Richmond Mayor Joseph Mayo unofficially surrendered Richmond to federal troops (though the official surrender occurred in the city).

Visitors to the Tree Hill event will be able to:

• experience living history demonstrations between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.;

• meet on site with genealogy experts to learn more about any ancestors who may have fought in the war;

• have their pictures taken in Civil War-style by period photographers;

• learn about storytelling during the war;

• hear about the role of slaves during the war locally;

• listen to Civil War music, as performed by several musical groups;

• witness a battle skirmish by re-enactors at 2 p.m.;

• take a candlelight walking tour of Fort Harrison at 8 p.m.

Tree Hill Farm is a private 500-acre tract of land on which a mixed-use development has been approved by the Board of Supervisors. But development has not yet begun, and the county worked with the landowner to open the site to the public for this event, McKelvey said.

“It’s such a great location, a very historic location,” he said. “We really wanted it there.”

Sunday’s event at Fort Harrison, 8621 Battlefield Park Road in Varina, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details are available online at http://www.nps.gov/rich/index.htm or by calling 226-1981.

At the Sept. 23 and 24 events, Henrico officials will offer for sale limited-edition posters – “Hospital Tree at Fair Oaks” by Sidney E. King and Joseph Umble’s “New Market Heights, Fleetwood Seizing the Flag” and “Battle of Yellow Tavern, Wounding of Stuart” – that depict scenes from Civil War battles in Henrico.

The events are the latest in a yearlong series of special occasions hosted by county officials in celebration of Henrico’s 400th anniversary.

For details, call 501-1611 or visit http://www.henrico400th.com.
Community

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


TGIF! Celebrate the weekend at Oak Hall Baptist Church’s Community Block Party on Saturday. Learn more about ballroom dancing, art and Colonial times. Or take the kids to Generation Z Games for water play or Southern Season to cook up a Disney-theme meal. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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