Civil War to come alive

Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis never had the chance to meet each other as leaders during a divided America, but they're going to this weekend.

The town? Costa Mesa. The place? Fairview Park.

The occasion? "The town hall meeting that never occurred," as one man puts it.

This weekend marks the annual Battle of Costa Mesa, a free Civil War reenactment event that in its fifth year will bring more than 350 participants and thousands of spectators to see and hear American history relived. Public events go from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with free parking at the Goat Hill railroad, across the street from the park's main parking lot.

Costa Mesa resident Scott Peca is once again organizing the American Civil War Society-sponsored event. The 58-year-old is a longtime reenactor and lieutenant colonel — "They never promote me!" he said — with the organization.

"We got the whole shoot and bang going on this weekend," Peca said.

Expect men and women from the Union and the Confederacy, food, horses, questionable 19-century hospital tactics, muskets and bayonets, sellers and sutlers, cannon and cannon fire, victory and surrender.

New aspects this year, in addition to the Lincoln-Davis meeting, include recitations of the Gettysburg Address, horse-drawn carriage rides, real memorabilia from Mary Todd Lincoln and a few groups playing period music. Representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will also make appearances.

Profits from a pie auction will go toward restoration of Civil War battlefields. The city of Costa Mesa and Costa Mesa Historical Society will also have displays.

"It's growing big and it's such a great event," Peca said. "Everybody is tickled to death about it."

If You Go

What: Fifth annual Battle of Costa Mesa

Where: Fairview Park, 2501 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Cost: Free admission and parking; food is available for sale

Parking: Event parking is across the street at the Goat Hill railroad lot. No parking is available at Estancia High School.

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