Prince William County and Manassas on the Sesquicentennial Civil War Map

Civil War sesquicentennial named top U.S. event

By Uriah Kiser
Published: September 14, 2010
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MANASSAS, Va. –Next year marks 150 years since the Civil War began, and tourism planners are hoping many will flock to Prince William County and Manassas to celebrate the anniversary.

That effort got a boost Tuesday when the American Bus Association named Prince William County and Manassas the number one U.S. tour destination for 2011.

“This is not a commemoration about a battle of the Civil War … this really means a lot for the entire region … every year the APA selects the top event in U.S. and Canada for tour groups and bus travelers… for 2011 the sesquicentennial is ranked as the top event for the First Battle of Manassas,” said Eron Shostek with American Bus Association.

Organizers submit about 600 events to the association each year, hoping theirs will be selected to be in the top 100.

This year, our region won out when the decision was announced Tuesday on the steps of the Old Manassas Courthouse, a Civil War relic in use until 1984.

“I feel a bit like Dr. Strangelove, as a northerner by birth I continue my natural instinct to say the ‘Battle of Bull Run,’ but it is the ‘Battle of Manassas,’” said Prince William Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart, R-At large. “This is another opportunity for Prince William County, private industry, the American Bus Association and especially our friends in the City of Manassas to work together to in the mutual benefit of both communities.”

“We are very fortunate because we live with our history, we walk with it, and it’s so exciting to be able to share all of this with the world,” said Manassas councilman J. Steven Randolph.

By ranking the event as the top ABA event in the U.S., officials hope that will spark interest amongst tourists and tour bus companies to come to the region.

The first event during the regional celebration is Jan. 16, with a lecture at the Manassas Museum.

It will also include the annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival and Civil War weekend.

The year of events will wrap up with two Civil War Christmas celebrations – one at the old Brentsville courthouse and the other at Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge.

Staff writer Uriah A. Kiser can be reached at 703-530-3905.

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