Area residents will not have to walk far this Saturday to experience a whole timeline of history.

They would only need to go from one table to the next during the 7th Annual Reenactor Recruitment Day scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Drive, in Middlesex Township.

The event is free and open to the public. There is no charge for parking and the building is handicapped accessible.

About 220 reenactors are expected this year covering eras from the pike men and musketeers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to a medical unit from Operation Desert Storm.

The event has several different goals, said historian Karl Warner, program and education coordinator at USAHEC. “Primarily, it allows reenactors from all over the East Coast to show off what they do.”

The hope is to engage the public to learn more about soldiers of particular time periods and to encourage individuals to pursue reenacting. While many people become interested in the pastime after attending a living history event, they are often unsure of how to get involved.

Reenactors will share information about the wars that shaped our nation, the armies that fought the wars and the trades that were common in the military of bygone days. About 54 groups will be present with the majority representing American soldiers from the past.

The full width and breadth of the Civil War will be represented in cavalry, infantry and even an artillery unit, Warner said. He said a similar variety will be there for the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

Other groups represent countries that were either allied with America or adversaries. There are German army units from World War II, North Koreans during the Korean War and French soldiers from World War I.

The event usually includes a special lunch program from noon to 1 p.m. This year, the Victorian Dance Ensemble will demonstrate Civil War era group dancing.

Aside from educating the public and helping groups recruit, the event is an opportunity for reenactors to network, plan events, talk shop, prepare equipment and get back into a living history mindset after the winter holidays. The event draws groups from as far away as New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.

The Army Heritage Center Foundation will have a used book sale at the USAHEC Museum Store during Saturday’s event. Café Cumberland will offer lunch specials.

For more information, visit www.usahec.org or call 717-245-3972.

Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.

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