Local News

February 5, 2014

Civil War show returns as biggest ever

The Chickamauga Civil War show returns to the trade center for the 19th straight year this weekend, and promoter Mike Kent promises this will be the biggest one yet.

“We are bumping up against 500 (vendor) tables this year,” Kent said. “We have been able to put an extra 32 or so tables in up there, so this will be the biggest show we have ever held in Dalton.”

Kent, who promotes Civil War shows across the country, says the Dalton show has long been the second largest one he produces each year, behind his show in Franklin, Tenn.

“The Southeast — Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas — is our biggest producer of vendors,” Kent said. “But we’ll have one from California, one from Texas, several from New York. I have a guy from England who comes every year, and he’ll be back this year.”

Kent said customers also attend from across the nation.

“Every year, we have guys who stop buy the admissions table and say ‘I just flew from Texas’ or ‘I came in from Utah or California just for this show,’” he said.

Kent said one of the reasons the show keeps growing is his decision to open the show up to material and artifacts from World War I and World War II.

“We’ve done that for all of our shows, and lot of our vendors also collect World War I and World War II memorabilia, and this gives them the opportunity to showcase it,” Kent said. “That stuff has really exploded. There’s a big and growing interest in World War I and World War II, and that material is generally less expensive than the Civil War memorabilia.”

Each year, Kent brings in something special for the Dalton show.

“This year we have an Abraham Lincoln impersonator doing a living history class who will be there,” he said. “When he gets dressed up in his top hat and coat, and when he’s sitting at his desk surrounded by the trappings, it’s amazing. You can have your picture taken with him, and kids are just enthralled by this guy.”

In addition to the Civil War show, Dalton State College’s Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia presents a free colloquium Saturday on the Atlanta Campaign.

Called “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the event kicks off at 9 a.m. in the trade center theater with several noted historians and authors talking about the campaign and concludes at 2:30 p.m. with a roundtable discussion and book signing.

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