Battle draws blue, grey and green

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Battle of Selma organizers now report that more than 700 re-enactors have registered to take part in this weekend's Battle of Selma event. -- File Photo

In the original Battle of Selma it was Union soldiers who prevailed. However, during re-enactments, it is often Selma merchants who are the true winners.

Already, Selma-Dallas County Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Smedley said, calls have been pouring in from all over the state for people asking about everything from the Battle of Selma schedule to hotel reservations.

“We have had phone calls from all over about people who want to come up,” she said. “Most of them want to stay in a hotel rooms for at least one night and a lot of them are going to buy food and drinks as well.”

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The re-enactment, Smedley said, will also piggyback off other events happening in the Black Belt. The annual RAVE event at Black Belt Treasures in Camden could boost numbers, rather than draw people away from the battle.

“A lot of people will come to the area and might want to do more than just one thing,” she said. “A lot of people will attend the Friday night events in Camden and come up Saturday for the battle. It’s just one of the ways our events can piggyback off each other.”

Already, April 1865 president James Hammonds said, the growing interest is evident. More and more participants are signing on every day.

“We are right at 700 right now and it’s growing every day,” he said. “It’s going to be here before we know it.”

Another positive, Hammond said, is rough weather conditions should have come and gone by the time the weekend arrives.

“It looks like all the rough weather is going to move out before then,” he said. “That’s what we are hoping for.”

Tourists will begin rolling into town Friday for the 5 p.m. Writer’s Forum and cannon night at 7 p.m. at the battlefield.

Saturday and Sunday’s battles should bring in the bulk of tourists.