It’s the blue versus the grey today (Saturday) in the far southeastern Iowa town of Keokuk. Nope, it’s not a football scrimmage but a reenactment of a Civil War battle. Kirk Brandenberger is executive director of the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau, which is hosting the reenactment of the Battle of Pea Ridge.At least one-thousand re-enactors are expected along with 10 to 15-thousand spectators. The bloody Civil War battle actually took place in another state but Brandenberger says there’s a distinct Iowa tie. The actual battle was in northwestern Arkansas but the winning general, General Curtis, was a native of Keokuk — that’s the connection. The first part of the battle will start with a cannon blast at 3 P.M. There’s also a Civil War encampment where spectators can talk with the re-enactors who will respond in character. Tonight, there’s a military ball for all of the re-enactors with period food, costumes and music. Tomorrow, there’s a Civil War church service and memorial in the Keokuk National Cemetery, one of the original 12 national cemeteries, the first one west of the Mississippi River and the only one in Iowa. Another Civil War battle re-enactment is planned for Sunday afternoon, starting at 2:30. For more information on the events, surf to “www.keokukiowatourism.org”.
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