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Sesquicentennial celebration draws thousands to area

Between 1,500 and 2,000 spectators and from 250-300 re-enactors converged on Staunton River Battlefield State Park to celebrate the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge, according to George Jefferson, park ranger and historian.

Sutlers and civilians in period dress swelled those numbers to almost 500, added Jefferson.

“It was an incredible day,” said Jefferson. “This is the second smallest (state) park, and it’s the biggest day we’ve ever had.”

The park added about 150 volunteers, including about 40 emergency personnel for the event, and there was only one heat-related incident reported, according to Jefferson.

“We had cooling stations, 11,000 bottles of water and a 55-foot tanker trailer full of water and two trailers full of ice,” the park ranger estimated.

Only one scheduled event during the weekend had to be cancelled, a night cannon demonstration that was scheduled for Saturday night around the time a thunderstorm passed across the battlefield.