MIDDLETOWN — The Battle of Church Street — a Civil War reenactment and food drive hosted by Middletown to benefit the Winchester-based Congregational Community Action (CCAP) — will start at 5:15 p.m. Friday.
At Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, Mayor Charles Harbaugh offered a reminder about the free event. He said reenactors will begin their march at 5:15 p.m. The Union Army will start on the north side of Church Street and the Confederate Army on the south side. They will meet on the street at the town office around 5:30 p.m. for a reenactment.
The event coincides with the 157th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek taking place Saturday and Sunday at 8437 Valley Pike, south of Middletown. The Civil War battle occurred Oct. 19, 1864.
Harbaugh said after the meeting that he started the Battle of Church Street in 2015 to “encourage residents to participate and interact with the reenactors” and to create connections between families and living historians.
“Also, it was meant to be historically accurate — the town was fought through twice that day on October 19, 1864 — the South pushed the North through town in the morning, and, in the afternoon, the North counterattacked and pushed the South through town for good,” he noted.
Town residents should tie yellow ribbons at their homes if they want to participate in the food drive. This visual cue will alert reenactors to approach the house and “forage” for nonperishable items to be donated to CCAP, which operates a food pantry for those in need at 112 S. Kent St.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, candles will be lit on Middletown’s Main Street to honor each of the 964 soldiers killed during the Battle of Cedar Creek.
Anyone with questions about the events should contact Harbaugh at 540-877-4594.
Also Monday night, Harbaugh said an interactive toolbar called “Recite Me” was launched Oct. 1 on the town’s website. The toolbar enables the website to be translated into 120 languages. It also enables the website to be magnified for people with visual impairments. And an audio feature reads aloud selected elements on the website.
Harbaugh, who is executive director of the Winchester-based nonprofit organization Access Independence, which supports people with disabilities in the region, said the launch coincides with National Disability Awareness month. The new toolbar will help those with disabilities have an easier time navigating the website. It also will help those for whom English is a second language.
The toolbar has been having issues on mobile devices, but it has been “very efficient” on desktop computers, Harbaugh said. Town officials plan to address the kinks so that people can use the toolbar on their cellphones.
Town Clerk Christina Smith said the toolbar puts the town’s website into Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.