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History comes alive at festival
Tony Ford of Loganville and Barbara Keel of Savannah portray Civil War figures during the festival at the Living History Site on Saturday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Barbara Keel yearned to make her hoop skirt history. Instead of portraying a Civil War Southern belle, she wanted to don overalls and be part of the cannon crew that started Saturday's Olde Effingham Festival with a feiry "bang."
"(Firing the cannon) makes me feel ten feet tall and bulletproof," joked Keel, a Savannah resident."
Keel was stationed at the front of a replica of a Confederate camp with Loganville's Tony Ford. Both have an appreciation of history, the star of the annual show at the Effingham Museum's Living History Site.
"If we wanted, we could do something like this every weekend," Ford said. "There is always something going on in the Southeast United States. It's very big."
The Olde Effingham Festival is big, too. It drew hundreds of spectators to view artifacts from prehistoric times up until the 1960s.
Keel and Ford have a great appreciation of history and enjoy reliving it as Civil War re-enactors.
"I don't know what you'd call it," Ford said. "Some folks call it a hobby and some folks call it a lifestyle. Most of us had ancestors that fought on one side or the other.

"My group — we do federal and Confederate (reenactments)."
Keel said it important to be true to history.
"We research every where we go so we can tell spectators what happened at the event," she said.
Keel and Ford encounter each other frequently at history festivals. They were on opposite sides when they initially met.
"We were wanting to capture them but we couldn't get to them," Ford recalled. "My buddy and I have been trying to capture her for two years. We're still after her."

See the April 25 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.