Part of the USA Today Network

Patriot Days 2008

Reenactors / living historians pose in front of the 19th Century Bonham House, one of downtown York’s many beautifully restored and maintained older homes.
My grandson and I spent much of the morning Saturday visiting the annual Patriot Days celebration in downtown York, Pennsylvania. This series of events includes a Civil War encampment, a Victorian ball, 19th Century musicians / dancers, a historical drama, a panel discussion on York during the Confederate occupation, and others.

The Civil War encampment in the lush backyard of the Bonham House.
This weekend was a popular one for ACW reenactors, with the preservation-minded reenactment in Gettysburg (a new event in contrast to the largeer, far more commercial event to be held next weekend), as well as other events in this region. Patriots Days drew perhaps two dozen reenactors, including several women decked out in their full regalia. A clever touch was having washed laundry “air dry” on the side veranda of the Bonham House.

For the little guy, one of the highlights of the encampment was a miniature cannon – just his size!
Despite some excellent music and the attraction of the reenactors, I thought attendance was sparse, perhaps because of the threatening rain (which never did materialize, despite a couple periods of sprinkles). I did not attend this event in past years, so I cannot compare 2008 to previous times.
The City of York and the sponsors are to be commended for trying hard to attract people to downtown York with a historical-based event. Publicity was good, both in the paper and on the local TV news, so that does not explain the light visitation. History by itself does not seem to be an attraction (maybe we need multiple ghost tours such as our neighbors to the west! Just kidding!).