The ceremony was the first in a series of events that last through Sunday marking 150 years since the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
Brent Everitt, spokesman for the National Park Service, said he hoped tens of thousands of people would filter in and out of the many events they had planned for the three days of festivities.
The weekend’s activities will include medicine demonstrations, museum tours and ranger talks, Everitt said.
“We’re just super excited to welcome people and get this thing underway that we’ve been working so hard to get planned,” Everitt said of the ceremony.
He noted the Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club put in much of the effort organizing the event.
Anne Strand, the trail club’s secretary, said she hoped the weekend would offer something every visitor could enjoy.
“There are hikes for hikers. There’s history for the history buffs. There’s civilian life for people who want to know how people lived back in the 1860s,” Strand said.
According to Strand, her organization is providing about 350 volunteers to assist the about 50 park rangers who traveled to Kennesaw from all over the county to serve at the commemoration.
The trail club maintains the park’s trails regularly, she said, and recently completed work on the new 24 Gun Battery Trail.
Walther highlighted the trail club’s efforts, which have been underway for well over a year, during her opening remarks.
She said the event could not have been possible without the more than $100,000 the trail club raised in donations.
“I’m just excited to see everyone come together after all the planning and all the activity,” Strand said before the opening ceremony.
She estimated 200 people had gathered on the field to usher in the festivities, which concluded with a three-volley salute fired by a coterie of Union-clad re-enactors.
Elected officials such as Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, Marietta Councilman Philip Goldstein and Kennesaw Councilman Jim Sebastian joined community members for the evening of speeches and music, played by the 8th Regiment Band of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry.
“It’s a true honor to be able to be here during the 150th anniversary,” said Kennesaw Councilman Tim Killingsworth, who attended the opening ceremony. “As a veteran, I reflect back for all American veterans and it’s a passion of mine, honoring others.”
The events marking the 150th birthday of the Confederate victory at Kennesaw Mountain and Cheatham Hill will last until a closing ceremony Sunday at 5 p.m.