Clark Historical Society to Offer Living History Weekend
Civil War reenactors will be putting on a show at Dr. Robinson Plantation June 4 and 5.
This weekend, on June 4 and 5, Clark will be transformed into a battlefield. Black powder smoke and the sounds of muskets cracking will fill the air around the Dr. Robinson Plantation and nearby Esposito Park during the Clark Historical Society's Living History Weekend. Three groups of Civil War reenactors will make camp at the Plantation, and will hold demonstrations and skirmishes all weekend.
"It's going to be fun," said Scott McCabe, Dr. Robinson Plantation director. "The groups we have coming here are very professional. The way they portray the Civil War is very accurate."
Festivities will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The site will play host to the 2nd Rhode Island, 3rd New Jersey and 7th Virginia regiments, totaling about 35 reenactors. The group will make an authentic Civil War-era military camp on the plantation grounds, sing marching songs, display and clean their weapons, and interact with visitors. At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, the reenactors and visitors will head over to Esposito Park, where the reenactors will perform a skirmish like those fought in the Civil War.
The Robinson Plantation will be open for tours throughout the weekend, including a candlelit tour between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday. Also present throughout the weekend will be other period players, such as a caner (wicker weaver), toymaker and haberdasher.
This will mark the third year reenactors will have performed in Clark. McCabe says he and the reenactors have been planning this year's event since last year's ended. About 1,000 people attended the first two weekends, but because 2011 marks the 150th anniversary since the Civil War started, McCabe expects about 3,000. Even with the enhanced crowd, however, McCabe says planning has gone well.
"Everything just rolls," he said of the planning process. "I like to outdo myself."
Though no battles took place in New Jersey during the Civil War, Clark and the Dr. Robinson Plantation did not remain unaffected. George Zimmerman, resident of the plantation house, fought for the Union, and his discharge papers, dated 1866, hang framed on one of the plantation's walls.
The event is free to all spectators, though donations to the Clark Historical Society will be welcome. The plantation is ADA-compliant, but McCabe asks that guests leave their non-service dogs at home. Street parking will be available.
Although McCabe, who has been the Dr. Robinson Plantation director for the past five years, insists he is not a history buff, he says it is hard not to get excited for an event like the Living History Weekend.
"Just to be involved with a piece of history like this," he says, "really takes it to the next level."