History comes alive: Commemoration of the Battle of Perryville this weekend

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

File photo by Ben Kleppinger Re-enactors portray members of the Union Army during a drill event in 2016.

The past comes to life once again this weekend in Perryville, with the anniversary of the 155th Battle of Perryville.

There are a few things happening differently at Perryville Battlefield this year, said Joni House, manager of the state historic site. Parking has changed and a special new event, the Ghosts of the Battle, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, has been added.

“It’s a historic tour of the battlefield as it would have been the night of the battle,” House said. “Visitors will encounter different historical vignettes that are set up, with reenactors interacting with them about different scenes that night.”

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The tour will take place in a corn field, which gives it an almost corn-maze-type feeling, House said. There are a limited number of tickets which costs $15. It’s a fundraising event for the Friends of Perryville, which works to help keep the battlefield going. Tickets can be purchased at the park’s museum, which will be open all day on Saturday.

House said there will be full reenactments at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

File photo by Ben Kleppinger Re-enactors eat breakfast and perform chores in the living history area during the 2016 commemoration.

The Life of a Soldier Tour, a regular event for about five years, will return this year. It offers visitors a chance to learn more about a particular soldier who was at the Battle of Perryville. The event is included with admission to the park, which is $10, $8 for veterans, $7 for those ages 6 to 12 and free for those under 6.

While attendees will use the main park entrance at 1825 Battlefield Road this year, House said it’s important to remember that the fields used for parking are not paved areas.

“This is a rugged terrain. There’s a lot of walking involved — there’s no way around it,” she said.

This year is a little special, House said, as the 155th anniversary of the battle and the 225th anniversary of Kentucky’s statehood are both this year.

Visitors can check out perryvillebattlefield.org for more information, directions and a schedule.

Sister events in Perryville

The City of Perryville will be celebrating the commemoration in its own way again this year, with events kicking off on Thursday and lasting through Sunday.

Vicki Goode, director of Main Street Perryville, said Thursday and Friday start with a new event, the Quilter’s Re-Enactment Workshop, which required preregistration and is being sponsored by the Pieceable Friends Quilt Guild and the Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County. “They will be using Civil War-era patterns,” Goode said.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, the public is invited to see what the workshop is about during a reception at Brummett Entertainment Center, home of the Perryville Jamboree on North Bragg Street. The reception will be followed by a “bed turning,” where quilt-makers can share the history of their quilts. Donations are appreciated at the free event.

On Friday, the quilters will continue their morning workshop, and events for the general public will begin at 4 p.m., with food being served and music. At 5 p.m., living history exhibits and Civil War encampments will open; and at 6 p.m. A Taste of 1862 will be held.

A Taste of 1862 has been going on for several years to benefit preservation efforts in Perryville, Goode said. “It’s our largest fundraiser.” 

The cost is $25 and tickets can be purchased by calling Lisa Bottoms at (859) 583-9405.

The event will be at Brummett Entertainment Center this year, a change from previous years, when it was held outside. By moving it, Goode said they have more room to allow more people, access to electricity and no concerns if the weather is bad.

“It has been growing and now it can continue to grow,” she said.

The event will feature special guests from “The Private,” a movie set in the Civil War and shot in Kentucky. Producer and director John Coulter will speak.

“The movie is absolutely beautiful,” Goode said, and a 30-minute segment will be shared with attendees that night.

Another special guest at A Taste of 1862 will be Fred Edwards, Boyle County resident and author, who will be releasing his second book, “Haunted,” this weekend.

“Haunted” is set in Perryville and is “an excellent book,” Goode said. Edwards will also be signing copies of his book.

There will also be vendors and music continuing through the night in Perryville, open to the public. 

Saturday morning kicks off early with an 8 a.m. “color run,” another fundraising event. It’s $25 to participate and entrants are encouraged to register by 7:30 a.m.

There will again be food and craft booths, as well as living history and Civil War encampments. A memorial will be held to honor the residents of Perryville in 1862 and the soldiers who fought in the battle. Following that, there will be a tribute to honor Troy Gentry, of Montgomery Gentry, who died earlier this year.

“He was a good friend of Perryville and the people of Perryville,” Goode said. “We felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Eddie Montgomery, the other half of the duo, is a former resident of the city, and they shot footage for “Our Town” in Perryville, Goode said.

The night will close with a “marshmallow ghost tour.”

“You can roast a marshmallow, listen to ghost stories and then go on a walking ghost tour,” Goode said.

From noon until 10 p.m. Saturday, Main Street Perryville will have a beer tent set up and Wilderness Trail Distillery will be serving cocktails. There will also be pageants on the main stage, Goode said. “Those are always a big hit,” she said.

Sunday will close out the weekend with more vendors and gospel music from 1 to 4 p.m.


The Battle of Perryville Commemoration will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. Enter at the main park entrance, 1825 Battlefield Road. Cost is $10 for admission, $8 for veterans, $7 for those ages 6 to 12, and free for those under 6.

Saturday night’s Ghost of the Battle, a special event for this year, costs $15 to attend.

Visit perryvillebattlefield.org for more information and parking directions.

The Perryville Commemoration festivities will be taking place in the city of Perryville beginning on Thursday. The event is mostly free to attend, but there are a few ticketed events.

Visit downtownperryville.com/festivals or call (859) 332-1862 for more information. Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs to events in Perryville.

10 a.m. -4 p.m. Honoring the Quilters reenactment workshop (a closed, ticketed event) at Brummett Entertainment Center
5 p.m.-6 p.m. Reception for the quilters event at Brummett Entertainment Center. Open to the public.
6 p.m.- 7p.m. Bed turning at Brummett Entertainment Center. Open to the public, donations are accepted.
Quilt displays, demonstrations and food and craft booths open up at 10 a.m.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Honoring the Quilters reenactment workshop (a closed, ticketed event) at Brummett Entertainment Center
4-7 p.m. Christian Church bean and chili supper
4-8 p.m. Music at the Main Stage (United Country Bluegrass Realty & Auction Parking Lot)
5 p.m. Living History exhibits and Civil War encampments on Merchants Row
6-9 p.m. A Taste of 1862, at Brummett Entertainment Center. A closed, ticketed event.
8-11 p.m. Street dance, music provided by Some Rock Band.
Events in Perryville are noted as DT; events at the battlefield are noted as BF
DT 8 a.m. Color Run (registration opens at 7:30 a.m. Food and craft booths, Living History exhibits and Civil War encampments all day.
BF 9 a.m. Living History Area open to public, Perryville Battlefield Museum and vendors open until 5 p.m.
DT 10 a.m. Parade
BF 10 a.m. The Life of a Soldier
DT 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Quilt displays and demonstrations at Brummett Entertainment Center
DT 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Children’s corner, located across from Perryville Christian Church on Third Street.
DT 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Bean and chili supper, bake sale and craft bazaar at the Perryville Christian Church
BF 11 a.m. Cassius Marcellus Clay, A Great Kentuckian -A Great American, Presented by Paul Taulbee (Large Pavilion)
DT 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Pageant registration begins.
BF 11:30 a.m. The Life of a Soldier
BF Noon A Nation Once More, Musical Program by Gary Vidito (Large Pavilion); Memorial Service Sons of Confederate Veterans (C.S. Cemetery)
DT 1 p.m. Reenactment on Merchants Row
BF 1 p.m. Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Kentucky, Book Signing and Presentation by Gerald Fischer (Large Pavilion)
BF 2 p.m. Military Demonstration and Reenactment (Maney’s Field)
BF 3:15 Chautauqua- William Wells Brown – African American Novelist and Playwright (Large Shelter)
DT 6 p.m. Perryville Jamboree, Brummett Entertainment Center, admission $10 at door
BF 6:30 p.m. Ghost of the Battle (a ticketed event, tickets on sale in the museum)
DT 7 p.m. Karaoke on the Main Stage
DT 7:30 p.m. Memorial to the residents and soldiers from the Oct. 8, 1862 Battle of Perryville
DT 8 p.m. Tribute to Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry on the Main Stage.
DT 8:30 p.m. Marshmallow Ghost Roast at the Karrick Parks House lawn, followed by a ghost walk.
DT 9-11 p.m. Street Dance featuring Lawless
DT Food and craft booths, Living history exhibits, Civil War encampments open Sunday morning until 5 p.m.
BF 9 a.m. Living History Area open to public until 3 p.m., Perryville Battlefield Museum and vendors open until 5 p.m.,
BF 10:30 a.m. The Life of a Soldier tour
BF 11 a.m. Patrick Cleburne: Man and Legend, Doug Lippman (Large Pavilion)
BF Noon A Nation Once More, Musical Program by Gary Vidito (Large Pavilion)
BF 12:30 p.m. Artillery Demonstration – 5th Indiana Light Artillery (Maney’s Field)
BF 1 p.m. Footsteps To Perryville -A Story of the 123rd Illinois   Presentation and Book Signing -Tom Netherton (Large Pavilion)
DT 1 p.m. Reenactment
DT 1-4 p.m. Gospel Music on the Main Stage.
BF 2 p.m. Military Demonstration and Reenactment (Maney’s Field)
BF 3:15 Chautauqua- Johnny Green of the Orphan Brigade
Guided tours of the battlefield will be at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon Saturday and Sunday.