15th Annual Homeschool Civil War Ball


Saturday, January 13th, 2018, 6:30-9:30 pm


The ball will be held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Events Center in Castle Rock, Colorado (directions below).


The Civil War Ball is hosted by You Can Live History. You will learn about 19th century American culture and etiquette, all while having a terrific time enjoying a score of different types of authentic period dances - ranging from waltzes to reels - all taught by a professional dance teacher and set to common 1800's tunes played by qualified musicians. You may make it a family event with parents and young adults thirteen and older all dancing together. Refreshments of cookies and punch will also be provided throughout the evening. We will have a maximum of 400 participants.


The cost for the event will be $45 per person. There will be a family early-bird discount of $5 off each additional person in a family (immediate family only) after the first person. In other words, the first person pays $45 and all succeeding family members pay $40, if you register and pay online by November 30. Any registrations after November 30 will be $45 per person. The deadline for late registration is December 31. The cost is based on the ball provider's fee, building rental costs and refreshments.

Please note: Anyone outside of your immediate family must register and pay separately.

To Register

Registration is currently open for the January 13, 2018 Ball! 

Please register online here.


You may receive a full refund prior to December 1, a half refund prior to December 31, and no refund after December 31. Please email your request to hscwball@gmail.com

Snow Date

There will be NO snow date unless the entire city is shut down by a blizzard (i.e. if DIA is closed down) therefore, partial refunds may be given only under these circumstances . We are sorry for any hardships this may cause. This is because the fairgrounds management will only reschedule our use of the facility, or refund our money, under those conditions.

Check-In and Uniform Issue

Check-in will be Saturday morning at 8:30 am at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Events Center, with free men's uniform issue from You Can Live History immediately following. The uniforms will be issued on a first come first serve basis.

Dance Class

The dance lesson class will immediately follow check-in, from 10 am to 12 pm noon on Saturday. During the class, the dance teacher will instruct you on some of the more complicated dances. Regular street clothes should be worn to the morning dance class. This class is required for participation in the ball, as there are several complicated dance steps that we all need to learn and practice together.

Previous years Ball Pictures

Please take a look at our 2012 Ball pictures.


Please take a look at our 2011 Ball pictures.


Please take a look at our 2010 Ball pictures.



Introductions of Young Ladies

We will be having a formal entrance and introduction for all the girls, on Saturday evening between 6 and 6:30 pm. They will enter the ballroom on a red carpet and walk under uniformed young men's crossed swords, while escorted by other uniformed men (young or old). When registering, please be sure to select whether you would like to be announced, and whether you made your own dress.

If you plan on being introduced, come Saturday evening at 5:45. You will be asked to find the label we have printed with your name on it, and then affix it to a 3x5 card to give to the announcer just prior to your introduction.

Since we only have a half hour to announce the young ladies, this will be limited only to young ladies. Sorry mothers and adult women 25 and older.

Men, young and old, we really need you to come and escort these ladies, so please come early as well. We also need period appropriate swords, so please bring these if you have one. Please Email us if you would like to be a sword bearer.

Saturday Schedule

8:00 - 9:30 am - Check-in and regular uniform pickup
8:00 - 10:00 am - Saunders Costume Rental Pickup
10:00 am - 12:00 pm - Dance Class
6:00 -- 6:30 pm - Introductions of Young Ladies
6:30 - 9:30 pm - Ball
9:30 pm - Uniform and Costume Return

Who may participate

The ball is open to all, ages 13 and up. For more explanation on this policy, please read the rational for the age limit.


Anyone 13 years and older may come and observe (at no charge). We ask that everyone, a participant or an observer, be a minimum of 13 years of age. For more explanation on this policy, please read the rational for the age limit. At least one parent/guardian of every participant must be on the premises at all times to supervise their children. Observers do not need to be in costume, however, please be modest.

Children under 13

Children under 13 may only come to the dance class in the morning, to observe only, but not to dance in the class. There are to be no children under 13 at the ball in the evening. For more explanation on this policy, please read the rational for the age limit.



Uniforms, at no charge, will be provided by You Can Live History Saturday morning. There are 100 boy's officer's dress uniforms, which may go quickly. They will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis prior to the practice session. After they run out, guys will receive enlisted uniforms, which are not as fancy. For men's size uniforms, there are only about 20 of the fancier officer's uniforms, then after that, men will receive the less fancy enlisted uniforms, of which there are plenty. Like the boy's uniforms, the fancier ones will be given out on a first come first serve basis prior to the practice session. It is highly recommended that guys obtain their own uniforms, either by sewing or renting them from a costume shop, due to the scarcity and quality of the officer's uniforms available.

Guys should provide themselves with light or dark jeans and some kind of black or brown shoes or boots. Historically, Civil War officers would have worn a type of smooth soled riding boots, so anything that approximates that would be fine. Please note that this is not cowboy boots. If you don't have boots, try to wear some kind of smooth soled dress shoes. Tennis shoes will not work because they are both out of period and have too much tread to be able to dance well.


All young ladies will need to provide themselves with a ball gown somewhat appropriate to the era. This can be done by altering something you already have; it can be borrowed, rented or purchased inexpensively from a thrift store. Young ladies should research what the dresses looked like from the library, the web, etc. This could easily be included in a special unit study on the Civil War a few weeks before the ball. For seamstresses, Simplicity has several period patterns available. Please keep in mind that all dresses should be modest and not overly emphasize one's figure.

Costume Stores

Seams Like Olde Times, Ltd.
1501 South Pearl Street
Denver, CO 80210

Ivywild Costume Rentals
1619 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, Co 80906

Gott a Costume
NE Corner Hampden at Chambers
Aurora, CO

Time Travel Outfitters
Valarie Griffin

Saunders Costumes
3845 N. Academy
Colorado Springs, CO 80917
(inside of Harmony Bowl)

Costume Country
4271 S. Broadwaw
Englewood, CO. 80113
Valarie Griffin
M-T-F-S, 10am - 6pm
20% off for homeschoolers

A few stores that will give us a discount if you mention the Home School Civil War Ball:

Saunders Costumes

Saunders has driven a trailer up from Colorado Springs, full of hundreds of ball gowns and Union or Confederate uniforms. They will do so again this year. They will rent you a costume for $25 (a great price). The woman's costume includes a ball gown and hoopskirt. The men's costume includes a uniform jacket, boots, and hat. This is a private business arrangement with Saunders and, as such, is separate from the ball. Please call them directly and make arrangements with them. The Gaffs are not responsible for anything relating to Saunders Costumes.


Laurel Uhlenhopp: 720-851-9252 (a homeschool graduate)

Annie Sechrist: 303-932-8922 (a homeschool graduate)

A Better Custom Costume: Denver 303-455-0405

Black Jack Photography

John, of Saunders Costumes, will be available to take professional quality photographs at the ball. Check with him for size and price information.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Rob Gaff by e-mail (preferred) at hscwball@gmail.com or by phone at 303-621-4137, only if you do not have e-mail. Additional information about You Can Live History can be found at their website at www.youcanlivehistory.com.

Directions (map below)

From the north: Take I-25 south to Castle Rock, take exit 181 and turn left (east) on Plum Creek Parkway. Take the second left with a light onto Fairgrounds Road, and follow the sign for Events Center Parking, which should be your first right. The entrance is under the large portico.

From the south: Take I-25 north to Castle Rock, take exit 181, and turn left (northeast) on Wilcox Street. Go north to Plum Creek Parkway and turn right (east). Take the second left with a light onto Fairgrounds Road, and follow the sign for Events Center Parking, which should be your first right. The entrance is under the large portico.

A map to the fairgrounds

Ball Minimum Age Limit Policy Rationale

Written by Ronnie McKay, founder of our Civil War Ball

The rationale for this policy is rooted in our vision for the ball. First, we wanted to host/participate in a special dance event for teenagers, similar to a prom, since there was so few available for home school teens. We also desired that our dance would be just plain clean fun for teens and their families who didn’t want to worry about the issues of modesty, rock music, inappropriate dances/movements, nor the whole guy/girl dating issue. The Civil War time period seemed to answer all of these issues, since it was from a more formal time period without modern concerns.

Next, we needed to make a decision on the matter of the lowest age that a youth could be to participate. We decided to go with 12 years, as at that time we were involved with home school speech and debate and their minimum age was 12. We also looked around the community and found a plethora of father/daughter dances for young children, but nothing devoted to home school teens. Our desire was for this to be a special event just for teens, akin to getting their driver's license, receiving the right to vote, and earning a graduation ceremony. It is something like a rite of passage, of which we have too few in our society. We also wanted to only have older kids, because there is a level of maturity, as far as conversational skills and coordination goes, that comes with teens, but isn't quite as devolved with younger children. Physical variations were another concern. Our youngest son has been over 6' 3'' since he was 13 years old and it is difficult for him to dance with a short child.

Problems then arose when numerous families, over the years, have asked for exceptions to our minimum age limit policy, especially if their child looked older or taller than the average 12 year old or who was very close to our minimum age. Also, many parents complained when they saw students who appeared to be younger than the age limit and then asked why that child (who actually did meet the age limit but just looked young) was allowed to dance when their child was not. The same was true of under-aged observers, as I had scores of parents asking why their young child couldn’t watch. In fact, I have been asked if younger and younger children could observe, all the way down to five years old. The ball would then become a babysitting event. I know of no high school prom which would allow elementary children to come and watch.

It may seem hard to believe, but most difficult part of organizing and running the entire ball is dealing with this issue. It consumes more of our time than all other areas of the ball combined. Not only is this issue time consuming, but many parents either get very upset with me or just decide to go against our policy. It is difficult for me to both dance and enjoy the ball, while at the same time, policing the facility for younger children. When I do see young children, I ask the parents to take them out, but I can't be everywhere at the same time.

This is such a tough issue, especially as everyone wants an exception for their child, The problem is, if we make one exception, then I have to make another, and another, and yet another, and the ball ceases to be a special event just for teenagers. The atmosphere, vision, and purpose are then completely changed. We have to draw the line somewhere, or else the age will continue to go lower and lower, with each successive family wanting an exception. Every area of life has limits/rules, which serve the specific purpose of that activity.

In an attempt to solve this problem, last year we have raised the minimum age to 13, hoping that by this age, most of the kids participating would have already reached puberty and look more their age. We have also instituted an honor code in the registration process so that we would be assured, as much as is possible when dealing with the human race, that the students who register really are 13.

Please hear my heart and try to understand the position we are in. This is a heart breaking position for me, as I hear every family’s story and I understand their predicament, but I still have to say no.  Please do not ask me to make an exception for your family. Thank you.

Castle Rock Civil War Unit

Calling all history buffs, campers, black powder shootists, fifers and drummers, and victorian civilians! Reinforcements needed for the War Effort!

The Castle Rock Civil War Unit's emphasis is on historical research, knowledge sharing, and of course encampment and battle reenacting!

We meet on every third Tuesday of the month at 7pm at the Philip S. Miller library in Castle Rock. The meetings are always free and will include a discussion of some aspect of Civil War history, and also discussions of reenacting and event planning. Our meeting activities and items may include any of the following: displays, training DVDs, music CDs, training, subject speakers and event planning. I hope you can make it to a session. Please see the attached fliers and pictures.

Reenactment efforts at this time focus on 9th VA, 63rd NY, and 2nd CO Infantry, and 1st US Cavalry. We are a small but growing unit. We recently incorporated as a non-profit business and received our 501-c-3 designation from the IRS. We have recently included Cavalry, since some of our members have previous experience in this area and/or own horses. Those interested in reenacting will need to join this non-profit reenacting unit, and invest in the uniform and equipment. Each year we put on about 13 Living History displays, march in 3 parades, and attend about 3 battle reenactments. We regularly join forces with other reenacting units along the Front Range such as the 1st Colorado Volunteers in Denver, 4th US Artillery unit in Denver, the 4th Texas Artillery units in Englewood, and the Mile High Fife and Drum Corps in Denver. There are also other units in Colorado Springs and Canyon City.

Due to safety regulations, young men (and appropriately disguised women) 16 years and up may carry muskets in the company drill and in reenactments. Those under 16 are encouraged to learn the drum or fife or enact a civilian impression. This is actually a fantastic addition to a reenacting unit and really steps up the aura of authenticity at any event. Most units do not have a fife and drum corps due to the lack of interested younger boys and girls. We regularly join with the Mile High Fife and Drum Corps for a more authentic impression and membership in their unit for like-minded folks is encouraged.

All equipment is currently purchased by the individual members. Since this is basically a hobby organized in a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization, all purchases and travel expenses are tax-deductible since they are in support of the organization.

Our emphasis will be, besides having a lot of fun, is the re-education of an ignorant public about our country's founding principles and the causes and present-day impacts of the Civil War. Our discussions will include religion, social attitudes, significant events, court decisions, and the debate over Constitutional interpretation, stretching from the Revolution to the present day.

Let me know if you have any questions or are interested in attending a meeting or joining our Unit.

For questions: please contact: Tim R. Brown, Chairman and Infantry Captain at: CR.CW.Unit1862@gmail.com