Letter: Battle reenactment a rousing success
The campfires are out. The tents are now folded and packed away. The boats are moored. The horses are in the barn. The armies are in winter quarters. The cannons and muskets are quiet. The battlefield awaits the next spring planting.
As the book is being closed on the largest Revolutionary War reenactment of 2013, our own The Return to the Hook, the local planning committee wanted to take one final moment to express our immeasurable gratitude to all involved. This includes The Inn at Warner Hall, our sponsors, Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the volunteers, and the entire community for making this event possible.
By any measure we believe the event was a rousing success!
Everyone should take pride in making such an ambitious vision a reality that young and old are still commenting on and will likely remember for years. Just in the way of reporting back to the community, here are some brief notes on things we thought important:
Safety—There were no accidents.
Education—There was outstanding visitor interaction with the reenactors, sutlers, displays, music, drama and demonstrations. The living history presentations at the local schools were excellent.
Economic impact—The Court House restaurants stayed busy. A lot of goods and services were purchased locally by the reenactors during their stay. The hotels and B&Bs were used by many. The event’s goods and services were purchased locally to the fullest extent practical.
Marketing and Tourism—This one-time event likely had the most extensive marketing and publicity plan of any local event of its size. Gloucester County and its many tourism opportunities were publicized across the region, the state and up and down the mid-Atlantic.
Attendance—There are no exact counts, but there is good evidence for 6,000 to 8,000 spectators and 1,400 reenactors. The attendance was extremely good considering that the wet conditions really made parking a challenge.
Volunteers—Gloucester was well represented by many individuals and groups of can-do, courteous, always-willing-to-help volunteers. They certainly were excellent ambassadors for the event and for our community.
Another goal was achieved because of the generosity of our local sponsors and individuals—the event was free to the public. That is not the norm for Revolutionary War reenactments outside of Virginia.
We were also very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many folks in Mathews County to hold a memorial event there, as well as present programs in the schools. The enthusiasm and cooperation were fantastic.
In closing, we believe that this event also leaves a legacy. We believe this event will live on in the following respects:
Education—Many seeds were planted in fertile minds about Gloucester’s (and Mathews’) history, the history of the founding of this country, the arts and archeology, just to name a few.
Quality of life—A significant family-oriented event was made possible by the community and was one in which the community can take pride.
The Gloucester connection—Due to tourism advertising and the impact of the good will shown to the reenactors, visitors and our own neighbors, we believe they will come back to visit!
The artifacts—The preservation of the artifacts from the 1781 British garrison at Gloucester Point and the coming public displays of those artifacts in Gloucester County may not have happened without this event.
Thanks on behalf of The Return to the Hook Planning Committee.