The roar of cannon fire and the sight of soldiers in Civil War uniforms are to greet visitors at oceanfront Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Friday though Sunday, Feb. 7-9, during the annual Civil War Heritage Days festival.
Key West was the only Deep South port that remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War, and Fort Taylor was a vital base for the Union blockade of Confederate ships. Captured blockade runners were forced to anchor in the waters just offshore.
Highlights of the family-friendly festival are to include a parade down Key West's Duval Street to the historic fort, a battle between land forces and schooners portraying blockade runners at sea, the staged trial of a blockade runner based on an 1862 court case and ongoing living history encampments of Union and Confederate Civil War re-enactors.
Events are set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the fort, surrounding state park and the waters bordering the park.
Re-enactors in period costume are to depict military personnel, craftsmen, musicians and civilians of the era. Festival visitors can view period crafts demonstrations, tour the campsites and learn what soldiers' lives were like in the 1860s.
The fort and park can be accessed from an entrance on Southard Street past Thomas Street. Daily entrance fees, which include a pass allowing visitors to leave and return, are $2.50 per person on foot or bicycle, $4.50 for a single-occupant motorized vehicle and $7 for a vehicle carrying two people with a 50-cent charge for each additional passenger. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free.
Event information: www.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor/, 305-292-6713 or 305-292-6850
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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