Beverly Days set to offer a glimpse into the past

BEVERLY — On Saturday and Sunday, re-enactors and interpreters of different time periods will head to Beverly as the annual Beverly Days showcases the heritage timeline of 1750-1950.

Christopher Taylor, an AmeriCorp member at the Beverly Heritage Center, explained Beverly Days began roughly 15 years ago and was primarily a one-day event. However, in recent years the event expanded to two days and is loaded with a variety of activities for those who enjoy local history.

“Initially a lot of this grew out of a Rich Mountain reenactment every other year, so we started having something in Beverly on the off years from the reenactment and initially it started out with the main focus being Civil War,” he explained.

In more recent years though, Taylor said the event has branched out into more of a time line event, which has allowed organizes to expand their focus and reach.

“We’ve been able to recruit re-enactors basically from the Pioneer era, the Civil War era as late as World War II and Korea at this point,” he said.

With Beverly Days’ main focus being a timeline of history, Taylor said the event is set apart from others which have a narrow focus.

“We have more of a broad focus to allow these different time periods to have a voice,” he said, adding the event has brought in re-enactors from across the state and surrounding states.

For those who are making their way into Beverly this week, folks can expect to see living history camps, demonstrations, heritage crafts and displays.

“Our three main areas are the Pioneer camp, the Civil War camp and the World War II camp,” Smith noted. “But in those three main time periods, we also have a few in-between groups, like we’re going to have some representation from the Spanish-American War in the 1890s as well as the Korean War from the 1950s.”

Within those camps, attendees can observe daily life for each of those time periods represented.

Smith said a history parade will also take place at 11 a.m. Saturday and will travel through the streets of Beverly.

“That will basically feature re-enactors from all of the different time periods represented from the Pioneer Days up into the 1950s, and that will even include some historic vehicles,” he said.

Smith said for this year’s Beverly Days, organizers are focusing primarily on civilian life within the represented time periods.

“We’ve always had a strong representation of kind of the military aspect, but this year we’re sort of expanding our civilian offerings,” he said, adding at 1 p.m. Saturday attendees can observe civilian presentations.

Folks can expect to see live history presentations from a 1920-30’s coal miner, former West Virginia Gov. Francis Pierpont and his wife, an early 20th century Red Cross nurse as well as a 1940 cooking demonstration.

“The civilian presentations are kind of a new thing that we’re branching out to this year to bring out some of those other voices that are from the past,” Smith said.

Following the presentations, a civilian social will take place where the public can interact with the presenters to ask more questions.

“That social will also include some snacks from the different time periods represented during the presentations,” he said.

Saturday evening will also include the event’s “Through the Centuries” dance, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Oddfellow’s building.

“Basically we will have live bands playing the music and we will have a caller and basically we are going to go through three centuries of different dances starting in the late 18th century …” he said. “We’re going to go up into some square dances and 19th century and we’ll continue on into the 20th century.”

A more in-depth look at this weekend’s schedule can be found at beverlyheritagecenter.org.

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