BROOKSVILLE - The Brooksville Raid, a re-enactmant of a famous Civil War battle, is taking place here this weekend.
The annual event began Saturday and continues today.
On Friday, before the raid and festivities opened to the general public, more than 2,400 children from Hernando schools and elsewhere got an advanced view of the grounds.
Students explored Union and Confederate camps, listened to veiled history lessons from re-enactors in character and covered their ears as cannons were fired.
"It was a very busy day," said Ron Daniel, chair of the Hernando Historical Museum Association. "We were very pleased."
Daniel said the school-day tradition began about 20 years ago with local students and has grown.
Bill Houck, portraying a Confederate solider with Milton Light Artillery, said it was his first year participating in the Brooksville Raid.
Houck and many of the other 1,500 re-enactors spent Thursday night in small military tents as temperatures dipped into the 30s.
"It's how it used to be, the basics," said Houck, who lives in Tampa. "It's how life was back then."
Houck said he was enjoying telling visiting students about Civil War-era simplicity and local history.
"It's all about how and why we fought; Yankees coming all the way from Key West to take our food and supplies."
This year marks 150 years since the Brooksville Raid, and the 34th annual re-enactment. If the weather cooperates, 8,000 to 10,000 people were expected to attend the raid and other activities on Saturday and today.
The event is staged by the Hernando Historical Museum Association and the North Pinellas County Scout Sertoma Club.
Gates open at 9 a.m. today, and a re-enactment of the battle is set for 2 p.m.
Parking is free; admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 through 12. Scouts in uniform and children age 5 and younger are admitted free.
Sandhill Scout Reservation is at 11210 Cortez Blvd. in Brooksville. More information on the raid is available by calling (352) 799-0129 or by visiting www.brooksvilleraid.com.