The ninth annual Civil War Show at Beech Grove High School is unique in many ways. With scores of vendors from 10 states and more than 130 tables of displays, the show serves as a fundraiser for the high school’s Renaissance program that encourages and honors students, a museum of rare all-original artifacts, an educational experience for history buffs and patrons and original Civil War items can be purchased.
The show begins Friday, March 22, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and continues Saturday, March 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 per person and is good for each day, a bargain compared to $15 or more for similar shows throughout the Midwest and East Coast.
Retired BGHS principal Harvey Warrner, a Civil War buff since childhood, emphasizes that the show is special to the Southside community because it raises funds for the BGHS Renaissance program that rewards students for improvement in the 3 A’s – attendance, attitude and academics. Students become eligible to take part in Renaissance activities.
“The show is unique to Renaissance because students and adults are not going out into the community seeking funds, but the community comes to this,” Warrner said. “And this also attracts many people from the Midwest and vendors from states as far away as New Mexico and Maryland.”
All admissions, vendor fees and proceeds from concessions are donated to the high school’s student incentive fund (Renaissance) that rewards student improvement with special activities and items. No state money or tax dollars support Renaissance.
“Improved attitude is so important for today’s students,” the veteran educator said. “The kids are like flowers; they don’t all bloom at the same time.” So, as Warrner contends, funding for Renaissance fosters student improvement. As for the show itself, the artifacts on display are treasured and can be purchased from vendors. All original Civil War items range from from swords, Springfield muskets, cannonballs, documents, personal items like canteens, uniforms, medals, books and cards plus other collectibles. Prices range from $2 for bullets, $200 for canteens, $900 for muskets and other items are $10,000 or more.
“Everything is authentic,” said Warrner of he Beech Grove show. ‘The community and out-of-state visitors enjoy the show. You don’t necessarily have to be a Civil War enthusiast. This is a good place to spend a few hours. I’m sure they will see something they have not seen before.” Experts also will be available to provide free appraisals of Civil War items.
The show is at the school at 5339 Hornet Ave., east off the 3900 block of South Emerson Avenue. Concessions, some home-cooked items, are available for purchase. After Warrner retired as BGHS principal several years ago, he and his family traveled to numerous Civil War sites and battlefields and Civil War shows.
They continually buy and sell items. Warrner expressed pride in the show because it raises funds to reward deserving high school students which makes the Beech Grove Civil War Show unique throughout the nation.