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140th re-enactment

December 27, 2001

140th re-enactment



By JULIE E. GREENE
julieg@herald-mail.com


Those people who told Frank Artz they wished they had seen the huge re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam in 1997 will have their opportunity.

More than 15,000 re-enactors are expected to help re-create the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War on Artz's farm in September to commemorate its 140th anniversary, organizers said.

"Well, if it's anything like the other one, it will be a pretty nice thing," Artz said Thursday.

The re-enactment will be held Sept. 13-15 on Rench Road where the 135th anniversary re-enactment was held, said Washington County Planning Director Bob Arch, coordinator for the Antietam Commemoration Committee.

The event is expected to bring millions of dollars into the community as re-enactors and tourists spend money on hotels, restaurants and other businesses, said Ben Hart, executive director for the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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"I just think it's tremendous for us to have that come here again. The impact of roughly 100,000 people for the 135th was a tremendous economic jolt," Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission Executive Director John Howard said.

Organizers couldn't quantify the economic impact the 135th anniversary re-enactment had on Washington County.

The Maryland Office of Tourism had estimated the 135th would result in about $500,000 in spending in the county.

While Arch didn't know the actual economic impact, he said it was far greater than half a million dollars and he expects it to be the same this time.

In addition to the 12,000 to 15,000 re-enactors, an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 spectators at the three-day 135th event spent money in the community, Arch said.

The tourism traffic such for a large re-enactment attracts allows the community to show off its other assets, Howard said.

The 140th should fill the approximately 2,400 hotel rooms in Washington County as well as fill hotel rooms in the surrounding Tri-State area, Hart said.

Hart said hotels as far away as Cumberland, Md., are already getting reservations related to the re-enactment.

"It's going to be a busy month," Hart said.

During the weekend of the 135th, 25,000 people a day visited the visitors center at Antietam National Battlefield, Superintendent John Howard said. The battlefield is about 7 miles south of the re-enactment site.

There was a 6 percent increase in visitation overall that year with about 273,000 visitors, Howard said.

Battlefield visitation could experience a similar increase in 2002, he said.

The re-enactment used about 400 acres of Artz's farmland in 1997 and could take up the entire 600 acres this time, Artz said.

There will be a battle re-enactment each day and organizers want to expand the Friday battle, Arch said.

The farmland will be restored after the re-enactment and organizers are negotiating a donation to Artz for the use of his land.

Allegheny Energy is donating the use of adjacent land, utility spokesman Guy Fletcher said.

Organizers will talk to some other neighbors about using their land as well, Arch said.

Tickets should go on sale by the end of January through the Maryland Tourism Office, Hart said.

Advance one-day passes cost $17 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-12, Arch said. That includes a $2 service charge.

Advance two-day passes cost $29 for adults and $16 for children.

Advance three-day passes cost $42 for adults and $22 for children.

One-day tickets at the door will cost $20 for adults and $10 for children, Arch said.

Parking is included in the ticket price this time.

Children younger than 6 get in free, he said.

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