Plaid shirts and old-timey photography might sound like just another Saturday afternoon in East Atlanta... at least until you add the giant cannon firing on the hour and the 90 feet of reconstructed earthworks forts. Nay, this isn't just any weekend—it's the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta, and there are plenty of commemorative activities to keep history buffs, weaponry nerds, and generally curious folk occupied all weekend. We curious folk took a gander at the beast of a schedule for B*ATL's goings-on and decided on five can't-miss events for soaking up some serious history:
Living History Encampment: Kirkwood's Gilliam Park will be transformed into a slice of 1864 life, where men and women, soldiers and civilians, will set up shop to quite literally recreate history. Everything, from the clothing to the reconstructed earthwork forts to, yes, the cannon is historically accurate. Wayne Carey, who helped organize the living history aspect of B*ATL, notes that unlike reading a book or watching a documentary about the Civil War, this is a complete sensory experience; one where you can actually walk through and interact with the actors. Which, unless you're squirreling away a time machine without telling us, is just about as close as you're going to get to hanging out with folks from the Georgia Militia.
8th Regiment Band Concert: Listening to the brass band music of the 19th century... as played on instruments from the 19th century? Not exactly something you're going to witness at the Tabernacle. This group out of Rome has been reviving 1800s brass band classics, complete with a pre-Civil War bass drum, for 25 years.
Battle of Atlanta Bike Tour: Time to finally dust off that 1868-era velocipede of yours. This eight-mile cycling tour stretches through East Atlanta, Inman Park, Ormewood, and more, hitting some of the most important Civil War sites in this neck of the woods (according to B*ATL, this includes "General McPherson's last ride, Hardee's night march, the fighting on Leggett's Hill, the storming of the Railroad Cut, and more."
Storytelling from Wren's Nest Tellers: Few people can spin a yarn like the storytellers at the Wren's Nest, and if you haven't yet had a chance to see them in action, the time is nigh. Join the likes of Mama Koku, Josie Bailey, and the much-beloved Akbar Imhotep tell folk tales and real-life narratives — they are Southern storytellers of the highest order.
Meet Abe Lincoln: A tall, bearded fellow whom you might recognize from history books (or vampire movies?) will be strolling around East Atlanta Village. Smile, say cheers, get your tintype taken.