Next weekend Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Va., will be the site of the largest historical equestrian event ever held in the United States. "Hoofbeats in History" commemorates the 130th anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station, the largest cavalry engagement of the Civil War.
Visitors will see a complete interpretive program each day, with dozens of military demonstrations, maneuvers, lectures and portrayals of daily camp life -- including inspections, the training of new recruits, the care of horses and camp discipline, and some of its diversions -- a period ball game, card-playing and music. Cavalry re-enactors will come from all over the country, and you can see actor Sam Elliott re-create his role as Gen. John Buford in the TNT television mini-series "The Killer Angels." Gates open both days at 7 a.m., and activities continue until 6 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Highlights include the "Review of the Troops," a re-creation of the 1863 review of Jeb Stuart's troops, as they take part in tactical demonstrations and drills Saturday at 2 p.m. On Sunday the battle re-enactment, involving more than 300 horsemen and 150 infantry soldiers, is scheduled at 2 p.m.
Other attractions include an authentic field hospital, a sutler's row with merchants selling goods to the troops, craft demonstrations, a gallery of works by well-known Civil War artists, artifacts from Civil War museums and tours of Oatlands.
Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for ages 7 to 12; free for under 6. Proceeds benefit Oatlands and the Brandy Station Foundation. Oatlands is six miles south of Leesburg, Va., on U.S. 15. For information, call (703) 777-3174.
Wine at Morven Park
Another event in Leesburg next weekend is the Eastern Wine Festival at Morven Park. This 1,200-acre estate was once the home of Maryland Gov. Thomas Swann and later home to Virginia Gov. Westmoreland Davis. The festival will be held on the grounds Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition to the wine-tastings, demonstrations and seminars, there will be activities for all ages. Activities include a cork-throwing contest and a grape-stomping contest for adults and children, a pigeon race, a waiters' race and a jousting tournament. There will be arts and crafts, country and Dixieland bands, train rides and a moon bounce, and food.
Admission is $15 for adults; free for children. There is an additional $2 charge to tour the mansion and museums. Morven Park is at the western end of Leesburg off Route 7 on Old Waterford Road. Call (703) 754-8564.
Experience the joys of summer at the turn of the century with a visit to the 11th annual Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Museum in Wilmington Saturday and next Sunday.
The grounds of this 19th-century estate will be transformed into a festive Victorian fair. A period craft show, a fashion show, band concerts and the Baby Parade Contest are among the many attractions from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. You'll find a cast of characters including Dr. B. B. Bumstead and his Traveling Medicine Show, a glass blower from Wheaton Village, jugglers, high-wheeled bicyclists, strolling magicians, and a photographer with a 19th-century camera who will demonstrate the development of wet-plate collodion images. Each evening, weather permitting, there will be a hot-air balloon launch.
Several attractions will be of interest to children. The Brandywine Zoo will bring some unusual creatures as part of their Traveling Zoo. The Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre will present a puppet show, and children can attend a puppet-making workshop between performances. There will be ice cream in a wide assortment of flavors and toppings as well as picnic food -- fried ++ chicken, hot dogs, fresh lemonade and other summertime favorites.
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $1 for ages 5 to 16. Visitors should park at Merchants Square on Gov. Printz Boulevard (Exit 9 off Interstate 95). Free shuttle service will take you to the festival. Call (302) 761-4340.
Lotuses at Lilypons
There will be magic and music among the acres of blooming lotus and lily ponds at Lilypons Water Gardens near Buckeystown next weekend. The garden will hold its 13th annual Lotus Blossom Festival on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Classic rock and roll music of the '50s and '60s and an Elvis impersonator will be the featured entertainment on Saturday, and a bluegrass-country band and a folk singer will perform on Sunday. Two magic shows are scheduled each day, and the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra will play both mornings. Artists and crafts people from the mid-Atlantic region will be on hand to sell their wares, and a large selection of American and international food will be available. You can also attend a free lecture series on water gardens or enjoy paddle-boat and canoe rides.
Admission is free, but there is a $4 parking charge, which will be donated to the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra. From Exit 54 of Interstate 70 take Route 85 south for eight miles. Turn left on Lilypons Road for one mile. Call (301) 874-5133.
Canal Boat Festival
The 17th annual Canal Boat Festival will take place Saturday and next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lock 75 in the north branch of the C&O; Canal Park near Cumberland. A 93-foot canal boat replica, complete with captain's cabin and mule stable, will be the centerpiece for the festival. Park rangers will conduct tours of the boat and the lock house and give interpretive talks about the canal's history.
Two re-enactment groups will participate in the event. The 7th Pennsylvania Reserve Corps will re-enact the Civil War defense of the canal by Federal troops, and Wills Mountain Renegades will depict life at an 1800s frontier campsite. The group will portray a frontier family and Indians, wearing authentic costumes and living in tepees and tents. They will demonstrate cooking over an open fire, hatchet throwing, and use of muzzleloaders and other weaponry.
Arts and crafts, stagecoach and pony rides, country and bluegrass music are some of the other attractions. Food will be for sale, including the famous canal boat bean soup cooked in old iron kettles over the open fire.
Admission is $1; free for children under 6. The park is four miles south of Cumberland on state Route 51. Call (301) 729-3136.
Arts in Pennsylvania
Over 140 banners will fly over the streets and sidewalks of State College, Pa., this week from Wednesday to Sunday during the 27th annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. The banners were created by crafts people of all ages throughout the country to add a festive touch to the festival zone, located on the campus of Pennsylvania State University and on the adjacent streets of town.
Opening day is Children's and Youth Day, when young people are the artists, performers and audience. Other attractions that day are the Back Alley Puppet Theatre, the popular children's performer Red Grammer, a children's choir from Hungary and two performances of "Beauty and the Beast" by the National Marionette Theatre.
The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition opens Thursday and runs through Sunday, providing a marketplace for more than 325 artists and crafts people from all over the country, who will be competing for $15,000 in prize money. A wide range of foods will be available. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visitors can watch local artists demonstrate their crafts, attend Crafts National 28, a collection of contemporary crafts, and Images '93, a fine-arts exhibition of two-dimensional art and small sculpture. Admission is free.
In addition, four stages will offer performances ranging from symphonic music to pops, dance storytelling and puppetry. Admission is charged for some performances. Call (814) 237-3682.