Fourth of July celebrations are bursting out all over


June 27, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

Independence Day celebrations provide varied activities for daytrippers next weekend.

Plantation Days at Ash Lawn-Highland celebrate early American life at the home of President James Monroe, near Charlottesville, Va., Saturday and next Sunday. Visitors will be transported back to the days when Monroe lived there and entertained his friends Thomas Jefferson and James and Dolley Madison. It was Thomas Jefferson who selected the site for Monroe's home in the mountains outside Charlottesville and just a short distance from his own Monticello.

During Plantation Days, costumed interpreters will be involved in open-hearth cooking, cabinet making, spinning, soap making and in other tasks that were essential to plantation life. A military encampment will be set up on the grounds to demonstrate the life of the Revolutionary War soldier. The roles of plantation slaves and traveling merchants will be portrayed by other interpreters. Entertainers will also be there to sing Colonial ballads, tell stories, play music and perform Scottish country dances. Children may join in 18th-century games, and food will be for sale in the crafts tent. Admission, which includes a tour of the house, is $7 for adults; $6.50 for seniors; $3 for children under 12.

Each afternoon at 1:30 p.m. the Virginia Dressage Association will present a musical freestyle dressage. The performance demonstrates the perfect unison between horse and rider and is set to music. Proceeds benefit Caring for Creatures, an organization dedicated to the care of abandoned or abused animals. Tickets can be bought separately at $7 for adults and $4 for children; or, for a combined dressage-Plantation Days ticket, $13 for adults and $6 for children.

Ash Lawn-Highland's annual Summer Festival of the Arts is in progress through Aug. 15. Major productions this summer are the Mozart opera, "Don Giovanni," which opens this weekend, the musical "Carousel" and Donizetti's "Don Pasquale." All performances are held at 7 p.m. in the Boxwood Gardens or under a tent in the event of rain. Often the performances are preceded by a lecture. Picnic suppers are available by reservation.

In addition, there is a Music at Twilight series, a potpourri of traditional and contemporary music, on Wednesdays through July 21, and Summer Saturdays, family fare featuring music, drama and puppetry, Saturdays, July 10 through Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. The box office number is (804) 293-4500.

The plantation is near Interstate 64, just 2 1/2 miles past Monticello on county Route 795. Call (804) 293-9539.

July Fourth in Washington

The Fourth of July is celebrated in grand style in the nation's capital. Highlights of the day include the National Independence Day Parade down Constitution Avenue at noon, six hours of entertainment at the Sylvan Theatre on Washington Monument Grounds beginning at 3 p.m., the National Symphony Orchestra concert on the west lawn of the Capitol at 8 p.m. and the fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. All events are free.

The National Parks Service and the National Council for the Traditional Arts will present "An American Roots Fourth of July," a concert of traditional American music that ranges from Texas swing and Cajun dance hall to Irish jigs, from mariachi to rhythm and blues. The program runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Sylvan stage and will be followed by performances by the Navy Band and its Sea Chanters chorus.

E. G. Marshall will again act as host for the traditional concert by the National Symphony Orchestra with guest stars Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Rita Moreno and Peter Nero. Call (202) 619-7222.

American Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife opens Thursday on the National Mall in Washington and runs through July 5. This year the festival focuses on the cultural contributions of people who live along the U.S.-Mexico border. About 85 people from this area will be at the festival to demonstrate and discuss their traditions, music, crafts and food.

A second program features "American Social Dance," which provides an opportunity for visitors to learn traditional American dances from various ethnic communities. On the "Metro Music" stage, musicians from the Maryland, Washington and Virginia area demonstrate the region's musical heritage; and, finally, "Kids Stuff" offers games, storytelling and performances for children. Most activities are designed for audience participation.

Daytime hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dance parties are scheduled every evening between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and nightly concerts from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The festival will be held on the National Mall between 7th and 14th streets. All events are free. Call (202) 357-2700.

An old-fashioned Fourth

The Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster will hold its annual Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration next Sunday from noon to dusk with old-fashioned games, picnicking on the lawn, patriotic music and fireworks.

Continuous entertainment will be provided on the farm stage by various groups of musicians playing patriotic songs, Irish and classical music; square dancers; and a vaudeville act. New attractions this year are a Victorian tea in the Rose and Herb Garden, a volleyball marathon and a laser light show. Food and crafts will be for sale, and wagon rides and tours of the farmhouse are also available.

Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for ages 12 to 18 and 60 and over; free for under 12. Call (410) 876-2667.

Ferry Farm Fourth

On July Fourth, the public will be welcomed free of charge to Ferry Farm, the site of George Washington's Boyhood Home near Fredericksburg, Va. During the open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., activities include musical entertainment, with selections from Colonial times to the big band jazz era; crafts, pony rides, tours and picnicking on the green. Refreshments will be for sale. Free shuttle service will be available from the Fredericksburg Visitor Center. Call (703) 372-4485.

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