Pheta Mort, commander of the Virginia State Navy Unit of the North West Territory Alliance, makes costumes worn by very upper-class women in a style dating back to 1780. This gown and accessories will be on display during the Back to the Days of Kosciusko Festival and Historical Re-Enactment at Lucerne Park Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Teresa Carrano, Times-Union
Pheta Mort, commander of the Virginia State Navy Unit of the North West Territory Alliance, makes costumes worn by very upper-class women in a style dating back to 1780. This gown and accessories will be on display during the Back to the Days of Kosciusko Festival and Historical Re-Enactment at Lucerne Park Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Teresa Carrano, Times-Union

PIERCETON - Preparation for the ball takes about two hours, as any female re-inactor knows. Then, after all this work, one can forget one's pocket and have to practically start all over again.

Pheta Mort, commander of the Virginia State Navy Unit of the North West Territory Alliance (NWTA), knows the perils of preparing for a ball.

This weekend, Mort and other re-inactors are set for the eighth annual Back To The Days of Kosciuszko, a celebration of the memory of Tadeusz Kosciusko, Polish Revolutionary War military encampment and colonial fair.

The weekend's highlight is the Grand Ball Saturday, reputed to be one of the most well-attended balls in the Midwest.

While the public is not expected to attend in costume, the re-inactors certainly will.

Mort's sky blue silk court dress will be on display with three or four others this weekend.

One gown, made with a startling black and white patterned bodice and overskirt, doesn't seem at first to be in keeping with the supposedly drab nature of clothing 200 years ago.

This is an assumption Mort is quick to dispel.

"You can come close to neon colors with natural dyes,"