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>> TOY SOLDIERS CAN OPEN A WINDOW ON THE PAST
Toy soldier event comes to Fredericksburg Battlefield

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Date published: 12/6/2012

BY DAVE SMALLEY

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Where can you find a delightful mix of mystery and history, of playful innocence and fond reminiscence all in the same place?

It's all at this weekend's free toy solider event at the Fredericksburg Battlefield, co-sponsored by one of the most renowned names in toy soldiers, W. Britain.

As Richard Walker, general manager at W. Britain, points out, it's a perfect match.

"Unlike almost any other toy, soldiers can ignite a love and appreciation of history," he notes. "As a child playing with toy soldiers, a strange thing happens on the way to victory in the backyard or the living room floor: You begin to want to know more--how did they fight, where did they fight and why did they fight?"

Taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, it is part of a series of events that will commemorate the Battle of Fredericksburg that took place in December, 1862.

Those activities include special tours, evening programs, living history soldiers and civilians, children's programs, talks by park historians and bus tours of the battlefield.

This weekend's event is co-sponsored by Eastern National, which runs the park's museum store.

"The Fredericksburg location holds a special place in the hearts of W. Britain," says Walker. "This site's Eastern National store has been a leader on supporting the idea of bringing history alive through toy soldiers."

Eastern National is a nonprofit that manages the museum shops at many national parks, and a portion of the proceeds from the shops goes to the parks.

It's a unique way to take in one of the Civil War's most poignant battles. Fans of all things toy soldier- and history-related can head to the battlefield and see where the brave men on both sides fought in a nation divided.

And then they can head to the park's store to hold the figures in their hands, paint them and learn how the sculptors do their jobs.

The action-packed event is that elusive mix of fun and education--and just may be the perfect place to get that unique and hard-to-find present.


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What: W. Britain and Eastern National toy soldier history event Where: Fredericksburg battlefield museum store, 1013 Lafayette Blvd., Fredericksburg When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9 Cost: Free