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June 17, 2011
School's out, but here's your chance to catch a local hands-on history lesson. The Smith River Sports Complex outside of Martinsville is hosting a two day Civil War re-enactment. This is a first for the complex.

Officials there say this event could have a huge impact locally. The area's been engaged in their own economic battle. It's why they hope this one will be both educational, and financially beneficial.

They say it's the closest you'll come to a glimpse of what life might have been during the Civil War.

"A lot of history books don't even mention much about the war between the states or the Civil War," said Daniel Young, Commander of Camp 515, Sons of the Confederate Veterans. "They're very skimpy about what they show and teach."

"It is extremely educational. For anyone who's historically minded or interested in the 19th century at all, this is a wonderful thing to do in your back yard," said Shane Miles, Federal Officers for the Battle of Martinsville, Union Soldier and a Union Federal Officer.

Aside from what you might see on the field, this is also a hands-on experience for families. Experts here have all sorts of replicas here from items used during that time period.

"You actually get to talk to someone, see someone, who's actually wearing the uniform. They can see it, they can touch it, they can interact," said Miles.

And just as they might have then, soldiers will have needs as they come into town. Luckily officials here say, those needs will add up to local spending.

"Now they will spend money in restaurants and the area while they're here on the weekend," said Billy Russo, Director of Operations Smith River Sports Complex.

"We estimate the an average soldier in soft dollars that are spread out throughout the community, represent usually a thousand dollars to the community per man that shows up," said Miles.

We're also told Generals Jackson, Lee, and Stuart will be there. The event is both Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event is free for kids 12 and younger. Otherwise, the cost is $5 a person.