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Civil War Weekend cancellation a bust for small business

MANASSAS — The annual Civil War Weekend in Downtown Manassas is canceled.

The three-day event that had been planned for Aug. 25, 26, and 27 draws hundreds to the city each August, where period re-enactors flock to the city museum lawn to show how Civil War soldiers lived. Live bands and a period dance were also planned as part of the event.

The cancellation comes after the recent white nationalist’s rally and counter protests in Charlottesville where one woman was killed, and two Virginia State Police troopers died when the helicopter they were flying to monitor the protests crashed.

“Recent events have ignited passions in this country surrounding the Civil War and the symbols representing it. The City of Manassas is saddened by these events and abhors the violence happening around the country. The city does not wish to further exacerbate the situation.” said Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince.

The decision to cancel the event was made following a string of meetings about the event held Tuesday at city hall. Prince said no permit application had been filed by protesters, and that there is no credible threat to the city. She added the city does not have enough police manpower to guarantee public safety should one arise.

“As Chief of Police, my concerns are and will always focus on the safety of our community – residents, and visitors. There is a balancing act with providing a safe environment and ensuring constitutional rights are protected,” said Manassas Police Chief Douglas Keen.

The city will save between $10,000 and $15,000 by canceling the event. It won’t have to pay a band, provide food to reenactors, or pay police overtime to patrol the event.

For small business owners who rely on events like this to draw people downtown, it’s a loss.

“Aside from the fact that we’ve been preparing for it by adding extra stock, it’s a shame that people can’t go to local events like this because of the climate we live in,” said Calico Jacks owner Kristy Murphy.

Her shop sells Virginia peanuts, as well as locally-made candles, coffee, and tea. She could lose as much as $1,000 in anticipated revenue, which may not seem like a lot of money to a larger business, for Murphy, “that’s rent,” she said.

This week, the nation has been embroiled in a debate over whether or not to remove Confederate statues from public spaces. On the Manassas National Battlefield in Prince William County, a statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will stay.

However, the names of two county schools — Stonewall Middle, and Stonewall Jackson Senior High School — are in question.

The Battle of 1st Manassas in 1861 was one of the first battles of the war, where Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname. Two major battles were fought here.

 Tourists from all over the country flock to the region to walk the battlefield, and then tour the shops in Manassas, which served as a major railroad junction during the war.

Photo: Manassas City

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  • JootJoint

    Time to grow up girls and boys.

    • I’m so tired of this nonsense

      Starting with you. This is a rather insensitive comment to offer, and shows a lack of understanding as to what historical reenactors do, and why they do it. I know it sounds kinda witty, but it ain’t. Just sophomoric.

      • JootJoint

        Why would want to enact a war that was lost? Don’t see anyone enacting any other war! Do you enjoy the beat down? Tell me, what is the thrill?

        • Michael Borawski

          There are plenty of reenacting in the USA. All wars are covered from the American Revolution to Vietnam. And if you didn’t have the opposing forces, what would you have the Union shoot each other?

          • JootJoint

            You mean, like the civil war?

          • Michael Borawski

            I would think American Revolutionary to Vietnam would of covered the Civil War. Also war of 1812. Spanish American War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.

        • aa aaa

          Actually there are many WW2 reenactments.

        • Joot- Joint , well I guess you were a great success in school. History is the thrill. Rome has been gone for a few years now and people still reenact Roman legions. There are British reenactors that do the American Revolution BTW if you didn’t know it , they LOST that one.Why don’t you go and reenact your education. You might even relearn something and learn to stop smoking the garbage you smoke.

  • Tom Fitzpatrick

    Direct your complaints to PWC School Board Chairman Sawyer.

    Using his “non-partisan” post as the head of the School Board, he is raising money and his profile by taking on a series of unnecessary and destructive positions. He is also running for office. Does anyone in the school system know what a conflict of interest is?

    We went to the living history event last year, and learned a great deal. A pity that learning is not a priority for the PWC School Board Chairman.

  • Tom Fitzpatrick

    Maybe we could have a reenactment with just Union soldiers???

    • Reed Lewis

      Those are called Living History events, and we reenactors do them all the time.

      • Jim McManus

        I was at the New Market reenactment this past year. It was quite impressive.

        Now I have to wonder the next time I go there will I be confronted by violent folks.

  • tbornottb

    This is just another example of trying to wipe out history. Good or bad…its history and this living history event is a learning opportunity and should go on as planned. What a bunch of scaredycats.

  • Country_Dog

    I was waiting for this to happen. Next no WWII reenactments, Alamo, F&I, Revolution, …. Someone will be pissed off and get a crowd.

  • Keren Gilfoyle

    As a re-enactor myself, I think this is the right decision *under the present circumstances*. I have every sympathy for the businesses affected, but believe it will be better to leave things this year, and carry on next summer instead, when hopefully people will be more open to seeing this as an educational event, and not use it for ulterior motives.

    • Michael White

      I am sorry but in my opinion I think that you will find gone today gone forever once you cave in to terror like actions next year you will hear we escaped the violence last year why risk it again this is the decline of the way of life in America

  • Steve Taylor

    Before the war, Stonewall Jackson had a Sunday school class in Lexington, Va. where he taught up to 200 slaves how to read and write. At the time, this was illegal, and he was arrested for doing so. He reasoned that was it really illegal to teach people how to read the bible. After the war, these people were way ahead of other slaves who were uneducated. They already knew how to read and write, thanks to Jackson’s Sunday school class. Now, why do they want to change the name of the school?

    • Belle

      That’s what I’ve been pointing out to people. We need to do a series of letters to all the governors, mayors, state officials, and federal officals in these various states. Already started myself and noted things like this in my very long letter.

    • kbrown2225

      Um, they were still slaves and Jackson fought against the United States and died trying to keep them slaves. Maybe you forgot that part.

      • Todd Heller

        he wasnt fighting to keep slavery…he was fighting to protect virginia numnutz.

        • kbrown2225

          Funny, according to the secession documents the Confederate states seceded over the issue of slavery, therefore, he was fighting to protect Virginia’s right to slavery (but hey, insults are more important than facts, right?)

  • Belle

    I was waiting for this to happen. But they should not give in so easily. The movement of these communists, violent and hateful people, etc. is to shut all this down including reenactments or living histories. I say boycott the states and towns in general for any shopping, etc for a period unless there is a reenactment. Money talks. If businesses get up in arms enough and complain to their mayors, etc. it may work. And write letters–lots of letters–with good information like tourism dollars in jeopardy, facts about blacks owning blacks, slaves in north, etc. Write them to elected officials both local, state, federal.

  • Tony W

    You ask where does it end? It never ends is the answer. Liberalism is a mental disorder. Nothing is good enough, utopia is a never ending goal. Take away all civil war monuments and then it is some thing else, take away that and it is something next, take away that and then there will be another some thing that is offensive, take that away and again another thing isn’t right. On and on and on and on and on and on…………

  • Swampthing

    I think we hurt ourselves MORE when we cancel an opportunity for education because of fear…



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