Our opinion: Congratulations, Andersonville!
It’s difficult to believe that this weekend marks the 40th annual Andersonville Historic Fair. It is also hard to believe that Peggy Sheppard, known as the biggest proponent of Andersonville, has been gone from our midst for almost a year. This year’s fair is dedicated to the beloved “Miss Peggy.”
Peggy Sheppard and Andersonville Mayor Lewis Easterlin, who has also gone on to his great reward, started the historic fair in 1976.
A career educator, she was also a journalist, having worked as editor of Georgia Magazine and Georgia Life Magazine. She was a frequent contributor to the Americus Times-Recorder, which she considered her hometown newspaper. She also wrote four books.
She served as tourism director for the Town of Andersonville for many years, and owned a bed and breakfast, and an antique shop. She served as director and past president of the Andersonville Guild and a member of the Andersonville Trail Association. She was “Ms. Andersonville” in every sense.
She and Easterlin gave birth to the fair during the nation’s 100th birthday and it was met with such fervor, they decided to make it an annual event. Neither rain nor mud nor threat of gnats can deter fair-goers from this popular event, held annually on the first full weekend of October. The little town of Andersonville will be filled with literally tens of thousands of visitors as well as hundreds of Civil War reenactors and artists and craftspeople. Just walking through the environs of the historic town — from the main street of shops and the Drummer Boy Museum, to the Wirz Monument, down to the Pioneer Farm and elsewhere, visitors will feel transported back to the 1860s. Many reenactors will have authentic campsites and wear authentic Civil War-era garb. They love to interact with visitors.
A parade, battle reenactments, music and fair food will round out the activities.
We commend the people of Andersonville for continuing this fine tradition that brings tens of thousands of people to Sumter County. We urge locals as well to attend the 40th annual event Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2. We believe Miss Peggy is looking down, and she approves.