Valley Forge park celebrates its 100th anniversary


June 13, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

At Valley Forge, Pa., the winter of 1777-1778 was plagued by bitterly cold weather and shortages of food, clothing and equipment for General George Washington and the soldiers of his Continental Army. But despite their many hardships, the army emerged from its six-month encampment at Valley Forge trained, renewed and prepared to face the British. In 1893, Pennsylvania recognized the importance of this historic site and set aside land creating the first park in the state.

Numerous events are planned this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Valley Forge National Historical Park, but none can top next weekend's Grand Celebration, a "turn-of-the century" party with re-enactments and demonstrations of 18th-century soldier and camp life, patriotic music, parades, an artillery salute, speeches, centennial tours and exhibits.

The encampment will be set up on the Grand Parade grounds with more than 400 re-enactors taking part in inspections, military drills, artillery firing, battle tactics and other routines of camp life. Activities are scheduled every hour between 10 a.m. ++ and 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. Bands will perform period music throughout the weekend at Washington's Headquarters.

Behind the building is the train station, where a centennial exhibition of memorabilia from the park's first 100 years is on display. Costumed guides will be at the station to lead walking tours of Valley Forge.

Events include the rededication of the cornerstone of Washington's Headquarters Saturday at 10 a.m. and the dedication and unveiling of the monument honoring soldiers of African descent at 1 p.m.

The final event is the "March Out" of the troops on Sunday at 3 p.m., which commemorates the 215th anniversary of the original march out of the troops in 1778 as they left to face the British. There will be food areas, and shuttle service will be available from parking sites. Events, parking and shuttle service are all free. For information, call (215) 783-1077.

Equestrian show

Gunston Hall, the 18th-century plantation of George Mason in Lorton, Va., will hold an Equestrian Event next Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carriages will parade along the graveled drives during morning hours, and a dressage-schooling show will be presented by the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association in the pasture from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be demonstrations by the Dominion Valley Pony ** Club, in-hand work and musical free-style demonstrations by the Potomac Valley Dressage Association, and a demonstration of sidesaddle riding by an interpreter in 18th-century riding apparel.

Inside the mansion, costumed interpreters will portray members of the Mason family as they engage in open-hearth cooking and other household duties. Visitors will be invited to join 18th-century games and crafts, and food will be for sale on the grounds. Admission is $8 for adults; $3 for students through grade 12. The fee includes the day's events and a tour of the plantation's buildings and gardens. Call (703) 550-9220.

Cypress Festival

Pocomoke City is preparing for one of its busiest weeks of the year. Visitors will be crowding into town for the annual Cypress Festival, which opens Thursday evening and runs through next Sunday.

One of the big weekend events is the fifth annual Pocomoke River Canoe Challenge on Saturday, in which canoeists of all ages and abilities participate in a 12-mile race from Snow Hill to Pocomoke City. Awards will be presented at the festival. The hub of activity will be Cypress Park, where you'll find an arts-and-crafts show, musical entertainment, dancers, a puppet show by the Blue Sky Puppet Theatre, sports events, children's games, contests, carnival rides, food, and tours of a Coast Guard vessel.

Hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. On Thursday evening, all carnival rides are included in one admission price. Band concerts are scheduled Friday and Saturday evenings. Call (410) 957-1919.

Arts in Columbia

The Columbia Festival of the Arts opens Friday for 10 days of art, music, theater and dance. More than 50 events are scheduled at various locations in and around Columbia, including master classes, workshops, lectures, visual art exhibits and events for children.

Bluegrass fiddler Mark O'Connor will join the Baltimore Symphony for a program of American favorites June 27. You can also hear jazz legend Max Roach, attend an evening of ballet featuring Amanda McKerrow of the American Ballet Theatre, see Momix, the innovative company of dancer-illusionists, or hear Celtic harpist Alan Stivell and many others.

Free outdoor performances are scheduled at Columbia's Lakefront June 25-27. In addition to the free performances there will be a juried craft show, and several local restaurants will offer food for sale at a waterfront cafe.

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