Gianni DiCrosta/ Roundup
It begins with the steady sound of galloping horse hooves.
Several soldiers appear on the horizon, rifles in hand, followed by a group of men lugging cannons.
Then come the foot soldiers, marching in unison to the command of their leader.
By this point, a new battalion appears on the opposite end of the field in a similar fashion.
It becomes evident that these two groups oppose each other, and then things get loud.
Gunshots echo in the air, leaving a ringing sensation in the ears of onlookers. Cannons blast from opposite ends, attempting to hinder the advancement of both armies. Men yell commands and warnings to protect their comrades.
As soldiers fire their weapons, the audience erupts in roaring cheers for their favorite side.
The first ever Heritage Days event took place at the Pierce College Farm Center on Saturday and Sunday, drawing large crowds to watch Civil War battle reenactments and take part in the festivities and activities of the 1800’s.
Heritage Days was presented by the Foundation for Pierce College, an organization that has developed several programs and events for Pierce such as the annual Fall Festival.
The event featured shops selling food, merchandise and costumes from the era. All workers and actors were dressed in Civil War costumes as well.
Visitors could also walk through a traditional war camp set up on the farm, where the actors actually stayed overnight in tents.
The main event, which took place twice a day, was the actual battle reenactment.
Cody Johnson, one of the battle actors, stressed the importance of mixing fun and education when acting in the war reenactment.
“I’m here for the history,” said Johnson. “But my friends and I love to come out and put on the show.”
“The terrain out there is pretty harsh on your feet though,” he added jokingly.
Other attractions included a presentation of the Gettysburg Address, presented by an actor playing Abraham Lincoln.
Dustin Kollstedt, a Woodland Hills native, grew up next to Pierce College and made sure to attend Heritage Days.
“I thought it was great. There was a lot of info I didn’t even know,” said Kollstedt. “I loved walking through the camps and seeing how life was back then.”
Cathy McBroom, who manages the Farm Center with her husband Robert, was pleased with the two day event’s turnout.
“For the first year, I think it was really successful,” she said. “I think [the actors were] surprised by [Pierce’s] professionalism. It went flawlessly.”
Brittany Dragicevich, a food booth worker, took note of the success as well, despite the sweltering summer temperatures of the San Fernando Valley.
“Today [Sunday] was busier than yesterday,” Dragicevich said. “But it’s crazy how hot it is. People will come anyway though.”
According to McBroom, Sunday morning ticket sales surpassed 800, and the official attendance count for the whole weekend would be known sometime this week.
She is confident that this won’t be the last time the Farm Center hosts Heritage Days.
“I’m hoping [it isn’t],” she said. “We’ll have to hear from the Foundation [for Pierce College] soon.”
For more information on the Foundation for Pierce College, go to www.f4pc.org
For more information on the Pierce College Farm Center and its events, go to www.piercecollege.edu/pierce_community.asp