History comes alive in Sharpsburg this week when Rebels and Yankees march through the town in observance of the 139th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam - the Civil War's bloodiest day. Civil War events will be commemorated along the streets and byways of the town and at nearby Antietam National Battlefield. Beginning today and continuing through Monday, activities at the battlefield include lectures, ranger-led hikes and living history events. (Saturday's battlefield torchlight tour is filled). Throughout the town, the region's rich cultural history - from Colonial days to the present - will be celebrated Saturday and Sunday with a Heritage Festival. You can visit soldiers' camps, listen to 18th- and 19th-century music, attend history lectures, browse period and contemporary craft displays, sample a variety of food and bid at a country auction. Also take part in a lantern walk through the alleys of Sharpsburg Saturday evening, then dress in period costume (optional) for a barn dance.
The festival is free; the barn dance is $10. Activities at the battlefield site are included in park admission of $2, $4 a household. Call 301-432-5124 for battlefield events; 800-228-STAY for the festival or visit the Web site sharpsburgheritagefestival.org.
Splendor of Florence
Dillworth Plaza at City Hall in Philadelphia will be transformed into a Florentine piazza for the Splendor of Florence Festival, a nine-day cultural, educational, culinary and musical event. The celebration of the artists and artisans of the Renaissance runs Saturday through Sept. 23. Eight artisans will set up shop and demonstrate their work in workshops re-created to resemble their own shops in Florence. Tastes of Tuscany will be offered, and there's also an exhibition of 80 black and white photographs of Florence in the 19th century. Throughout the festival, there will be Tuscan olive oil tastings and a lecture on Mediterranean diet, a lecture on wines of the Tuscan region, wine tastings, cooking lessons. The Florence Family Weekend Sept. 22-23 includes hands-on activities for children.
Shops are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission to the Florentine Piazza is free; there is a cost of some events. Call 215-561-2790 or visit the Web site at www.splendorofflorence.com.