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Eighteen teams from across the country will compete in the Gettysburg National 19th Century Base Ball Festival this weekend.

The festival, now in its seventh year, will feature the rules, style, uniforms and equipment of the 1800s, and will include teams from Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Base Ball - which was two words in the 1800s - required only a farm field, a ball and a bat in the 19th century.

“This is a family-friendly event for all ages whether you’re a baseball fan, a history buff or both,” said Bruce Leith, event coordinator. “Come out and see baseball the way it was played before million-dollar contracts and television.”

The festival began in 2010 and has grown from six teams in its first year to now 18 teams this coming weekend.

The event is free and open to the public.

“This is a great event for Gettysburg,” said Norris Flowers, president of Destination Gettysburg. “It’s something different for visitors, but at the same time, reflects back on a special time in American history. It’s been exciting to see this event grow every year.”

New this year is an "All Clubs Match" at Gettysburg's Rec Park at 7 p.m. Friday, featuring players from all 18 teams to kick off the tournament weekend.

Over the next two days, the teams will play 26 games at the Schroeder Farm, at 965 Pumping Station Road, just south of Gettysburg and near the battlefield. Saturday's games run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and games on Sunday run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Spectators will also have the chance to interact with players in between games and innings, as well as learn about the evolution of baseball. All games are free, but a donation will be collected by the Gettysburg Little League players for parking.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic basket, their chairs and blankets. There will be ballpark concessions, as well.

In addition to the tournament, teams on Saturday night starting at 8 will take part in the third annual Base Ball Walk on Gettysburg's Steinwehr Avenue. There, visitors can learn the history of baseball, the rules and the teams of the era. This event is also free.

For more information about the festival, visit www.gettysburgbaseballfestival.com.

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