Troops and traffic at Gettysburg

July 02, 1998|By Jay Friess | Jay Friess,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Battle of Gettysburg is about to be fought again this

weekend. The 135th anniversary of the greatest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere is being marked by the greatest battle reenactment ever staged.

From Friday through Sunday, more than 15,000 reenactors will descend on a farm near the small Pennsylvania town to re-create the bloody events that marked the turning point of the American Civil War. This time, however, the soldiers of the North and South will be watched by up to 35,000 spectators a day.

With so many people heading toward Gettysburg, it is entirely possible a more modern-day battle will have to be fought: the traffic battle.

Reenactment planners recommend that spectators arrive two to three hours before the "battles" start.

Spectators who have not bought tickets yet might want to arrive even earlier to secure a parking space.

"The limit of how many people we can allow in is a function of the parking estimate," said Wes Ayre, one of the four reenactment committee members. "We will stop letting [spectators without pre-purchased tickets] in when the lots are 90 percent full."

However, Ayre does not seen apprehensive about handling all the incoming traffic. Like General Lee 135 years ago, he and his committee have been hard at work planning how to effectively move these large numbers of people and their machinery.

To start with, they have chosen a 1,100-acre reenactment area, at Bushey Farm two miles southwest of the historic battlefield, with parking for up to 11,500 cars. There are four entrances to the lot.

The committee will also commit a large part of its small army of 450 staff members to further reduce the headache. "We will have people directing traffic at every point of the way," said Ayre.


Tickets are for sale at various Gettysburg gift shops and businesses or at the reenactment site. Adult passes cost $14, one day; $24, two days; $35, three days; for children ages 7-12, passes are $10, $18 and $24. Information: 717-334-2472 or 717-337-9483.

Web site

The reenactment committee's Web site:

http: //

Pub Date: 7/02/98

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