GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The future of Gettysburg battle reenactments is uncertain. The committee that has put together the event for 25 years says it isn’t happening next year.
Organizers say they’re putting a pause on the reenactments as they reevaluate and decide what to do next.
“Due to logistical issues and costs, they needed to postpone next year’s programming and hopefully it’ll be back over the next couple of years,” said Jason Martz, of Gettysburg National Military Park.
The event isn’t put on by the park but by the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee.
Organizers took to Facebook to make the announcement and sent us a statement saying, in part, “doing non-five-year events which are much smaller, increasingly varied visitor interests, a decreasing reenactor base, the risks of totally outdoor weather-related events, and a staff that has done this for 25 years are all factors in the decision.”
“Anniversary years are always much larger and have a greater impact on the community, whether it’s the number of visitors that come, the financial impact,” said Carrie Stuart, of the Chamber of Gettysburg and Adams County.
Over the years, the event has brought in 100,000 reenactors and 500,000 visitors.
“It helps the greater Gettysburg community as far as total visitation, restaurants and hotels and so forth,” Martz said.
While attendance at the reenactment may fluctuate, the park itself isn’t having issues. It saw a 13% increase in visitors for the anniversary of the Civil War battle this year.
Still, many local businesses are hopeful for the tradition’s return.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to have an impact on the community, but we have spent so much time over the last several years trying to identify and redefine what Gettysburg has to offer,” Stuart said.
The park and the Gettysburg Foundation are separate and continue to put on several events throughout the year.