FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Before the annual "Civil War Revisited" reenactment opens to the public, local school children get to experience history firsthand. It's a day their textbooks really come alive.
The startling boom of cannons and muskets firing greeted 8th graders from Central Unified School District. Over two days, more than 3,700 students from Fresno, Tulare, Mariposa, and Kings Counties attend the Civil War Revisited as part of the "Time Travelers Education Program."
"I think it was cool to experience because it's so different from how we are today," said Katelyn Lally, Glacier Point.
"It was a lotta disgusting things. They didn't used to wash their hands. Or they wore the same clothes for a year," Jeremiah Hunter from Glacier Point said.
From hands-on broom making lessons, to battle strategy with confederate and union soldiers, the kids see the pages of their history books come to life.
Ruth Lang from the Fresno Historical Society stated, "Reading it in a book is wonderful but when you come out here and actually experience living history they really take away a lot of the history of the United States through this program."
The students get to interact with historical figures. Some widely known, like President Abraham Lincoln and others more unfamiliar. Fresno's Evelyn Grimaldo plays Elizabeth Keckley a former slave who became a successful seamstress in the white house. "You're not gonna read about me in history books. You have to go to the internet. Ok? You have to look me up on the internet. You have to research who I am, who I really was, and what I really did."
First year reenactor Asia Smith is coming full circle, long after she visited as a child and fell in love with the civil war reenactment. "It's always been a childhood dream of mine, not to mention I am an educator at heart so I do love the opportunity to educate young people."
Tickets for the public event are $5 for children and $10 for adults.
Civil War Revisited puts students back into the 1860's