The Manassas City Council voted Wednesday to spend $100,000 on the upcoming 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas. The 150th anniversary of the first major engagement of the Civil War will take place around the week of July 21, 2011.
The City hopes to bring in revenue and position itself for long term tourism. Creston M. Owen, chairman of the board of Virginia Civil War Events Inc. plans to organize 9 days worth of events. He came before the board on Wednesday to ask for money.
According to the News and Messenger:
Owen’s outfit of volunteers is poised to begin organizing the nine-day commemoration that is set to include a Blue and Gray Ball at the Candy Factory, a re-enactment of the First Manassas, breakfast with the troops and concerts on the lawn of the Manassas Museum and at the Battlefield.
Owen told the council that it’s time to get started if the aim is to educate and attract the crowds that will generate income and put the area on the map.
“We’re only 18 months away. If we don’t start beating the drum now, we won’t get people here,” Owen told the council.
Owen has also met with the Prince William delegation of the Virginia General Assembly and hopes to get a million dollars from the state for this 9-day event. To date nothing has been heard publically about the Prince William County involvement in the commemoration of the sesquicentennial or about their plans to infuse money into this venture.
Already citizens are cheering for their home town. However, an equally strong set of boos are being heard because of the recession, extremely tight municiple budgets, and basically, a Tea Party mentality. Is this something that the local governments ought to be supporting or is this an event better handled by private enterprise?