Yorktown festival will mark town's 300-year history

DAYTRIPPING

August 11, 1991|By Dorothy Fleetwood

Yorktown, Va., observes its 300-year history next weekend with a three-day celebration from Friday to Sunday. The whole town will be involved, and visitors can enjoy free activities from the opening ceremony and youth concert on Friday night to the closing ceremony and the lighting of 300 candles on Sunday evening, and including parades, living history re-enactments, demonstrations, concerts, sports and other events. The festival will be held in the historic district, along the waterfront and on Main Street from the Colonial National Historical Park Visitor Center to the Yorktown Victory Center.

Yorktown was established in 1691 and served as the center of county government. With its direct access to the Chesapeake Bay the town became one of the most important centers of trade and shipping in Virginia during the 18th century. Yorktown is best remembered as the site of the final battle of the Revolutionary War and the British surrender in 1781. During the Civil War the town was involved in the Peninsula campaign. Today Yorktown is home to the Coast Guard Training School and Naval Weapons Station.

The opening ceremony and concert is set Friday at 5 p.m. Saturday's agenda begins at 8 a.m. with a volksmarch for all ages around Yorktown's historic battlefields. The first of several living history presentations by military re-enactment units is scheduled at 9 a.m. There will be military camps representing each century from the 17th to the 20th. You'll find 17th century units at the rear of the National Park Service Visitors' Center; 18th century British, Continental, naval and militia forces camping at the Yorktown Victory Center; and Civil War troops at the Nelson House, where a Confederate field hospital will be set up. The Nelson House was once the home of Thomas Nelson Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence, wartime governor of Virginia and commander of the Virginia militia during the Seige of Yorktown. Twentieth century military units will also play their part in the event.

One of Saturday's highlights will be the "Three Hundred Years of History" parade at noon on Water Street, with costumed participants passing in chronological order. The York River will be the site of activities such as a workboat parade, a working watermen's boat race and sailboat races. A drama will be presented at the Custom House depicting life during the Revolutionary War years. Events on Saturday will conclude with a concert and fireworks along the waterfront.

Additional attractions include children's Colonial games and hands-on activities; strolling mimes and Colonial characters; a variety of concerts, arts and crafts exhibits; and demonstrations of 18th century farm life.

5) For information, call (800) 333-7787.

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William Claiborne landed on Kent Island in August 1631 and established the first English settlement in Maryland.

The Kent Island Heritage Society will sponsor Kent Island Day and celebrate the 360th anniversary of Claiborne's landing on Saturday. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 278 in Stevensville. Attractions include arts and crafts exhibits, antique cars, airplane rides, entertainment, exhibits of Kent Island memorabilia, demonstrations of wood carving, butter churning, chair caning and other traditional crafts, and food. Admission is free.

Stevensville is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. On a walking tour you can visit the Old Cray House, circa 1805-1815, and the original station of the Queen Anne's railroad, which will be open free of charge.

Stevensville is on Route 8, just off U.S. 50/301. For information, call (301) 643-5596.

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County fairs figure prominently on the August calendar, and one the big ones is the 43rd annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair from Friday through Aug. 24 at the Gaithersburg Fairgrounds.

Sheep will be the focus of this year's fair, with herding, shearing and other sheep-related activities. The fair also offers a wide range of activities for all ages. Children will be admitted free from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Children's Day, Aug. 19, with special activities planned throughout the day. Senior citizens will have their day Aug. 20, when admission will be free and the only charge will be for parking.

You'll find the usual home arts and crafts exhibits, demonstrations and contests, animal judging and livestock shows and some unusual ones, such as the pretty cow contest; small pet show; racing pigs, ducks and goats and even a crab race. A rodeo, horse-pulling contests, a demolition derby, bands and other musical performances are part of the nightly entertainment. There's also a carnival with midway rides.

Fair hours are 8 a.m. to midnight, daily, except on prefair days (Friday to next Sunday), when events begin later in the day.

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