The 1800s were alive at Cotton Rosser Arena Pavilion on Saturday for the fourth annual Civil War Days, sponsored by CWD Productions and the Linda Lions Club.
“It’s a labor of love,” said Jon Nickerson, president of the National Civil War Association and co-coordinator of this years Civil War Days. “All of the reenactors are out here volunteering their time and sleeping in tents all weekend because they really love doing this and it’s great that we can bring something like this to the community.”
According to Nickerson, the event features 12 horses, three artillery pieces and 120 reenactors living life as they did in the 1800s, camping out for the duration of the event without any modern technologies.
Yvonne Zolna, who said she became a reenactor because of her great love of history, traveled from San Jose to man the mobile hospital tent as the matron of nurses.
Zolna said nurses at that time usually had no formal training and were discouraged from wearing anything flashy.
“They were dull to the point of ugliness so they would not become a distraction to the soldiers,” said Zolna. “They were only there to do their job.”
According to Zolna, the hospital tent was stocked with everything from herbal medications and horse hair toothbrushes - which cost a whopping dollar for soldiers that only made $13 per month - to medical tools used for extracting teeth, amputating limbs and remove bullets from wounded soldiers.
Yuba City resident Mike Sanders said he has been a reenactor at Civil War Days for the last three years.
“I really enjoy it,” said Sanders. “I like the fact that people can come out and get a lesson in history without looking at a book or watching television.”
According to Sanders, the funnest part about being a reenactor is all of the research that goes into creating a true-to-life reenactment.
“I have done years of research,” said Sanders. “The most interesting books I find are are written by common soldiers. They tell you a lot more details than other books about what life was really like back then.”
Sanders said anyone that has not been to a historical reenactment should make an effort to attend at least one and ask lots of questions.
“The people that are out here are really invested in this and are happy to share their love of history to keep it alive,” said Sanders.
The reenactment continues Sunday at Cotton Rosser Arena Pavilion located in Beckwourth Riverfront Park, Marysville.
Grant Harrison, co-coordinator of the event, said attendees are encouraged to come out and chat with the reenactors and take photos.
“They love to tell you all about it,” said Harrison. “You can ask them questions and get your own private little lesson about history.”
According to Harrison, dogs are also welcome but Harrison warns that the loud bangs from the guns and cannon may frighten canine companions.
Gates will be open on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and battle reenactments will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Parking is $2 and admission costs $10 for adults and $8 for military/seniors/students. Children under five are free. For more information, contact Harrison at 216-6532.