Preservation Ball this Saturday Evening for Gettysburg Monuments Project

State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host his 16th annual Gettysburg Preservation Ball from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 30 in the state Capitol Rotunda.

The ball supports the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project founded in 1997 by Readshaw after he had read a newspaper report about the toll of time, weather and vandalism on monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park and the lack of federal funds for proper repairs and maintenance for the park’s more than 1,000 monuments, regimental markers, and artillery displays. This event supports the Pennsylvania unit monuments honoring and erected by Pennsylvanians, including the monument for the Pittsburgh Division.

“In the past 15 years, we’ve been able to raise $100,000 for the Gettysburg Monuments Project Endowment Trust Fund via this wonderful event,” Readshaw said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring together, not only people locally, but across Pennsylvania and beyond to raise money in order to preserve such an important part of our shared history.”

Period dance music will be provided by the Philadelphia Brigade Band, under the direction of Richard Cummines. The 17-member brass ensemble will be attired in Union Army uniforms. The Victorian Dance Ensemble will lead the dancing and also demonstrate the steps for guests to join in with on the dance floor.

The annual event is held to honor and support more than 140 Pennsylvania monuments and markers, which require periodic cleaning and minor maintenance. The “Icons of Freedom,” as Readshaw has labeled them, commemorate the tens of thousands of Pennsylvania volunteers who took part in the three-day engagement, by marking their positions on the fields and hillsides, and noting regimental and individual bravery and sacrifice. Most were erected by veteran survivors of the battle, assisted by allocations from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

“This event isn’t just about what happens here this weekend,” Readshaw said. “We typically attract guests from about seven states. And the time we spend over the weekend is an investment that lasts far longer than 48 hours, extending far beyond our state’s borders.”