Leesburg, Va., re-creates mood of Colonial court days

DAYTRIPPING

August 15, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

In Colonial times August was the month when the county judicial courts held session, bringing an influx of visitors to town. Farmers came to sell their produce, itinerant peddlers offered a variety of items and services, and street musicians entertained the crowds. It was a time for socializing and a welcome diversion during the heat of August.

August Court Days, scheduled Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 in Leesburg, Va., re-creates the mood of this era. Sponsored by the Loudoun Restoration and Preservation Society, the event has been held LTC for the past 17 years on the third weekend of August. A four-block area in downtown Leesburg is closed to traffic the days of the event between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

This year's event brings over 60 historic Colonial re-enactors to town. Members of the 1st Virginia Regiment, Maryland Militia and the Living History Foundation will all help to re-create the scene by appearing in authentic attire as first-person interpreters. Military groups will set up encampments, engage in drills and musketry. Visitors will be offered instruction in Colonial dance, and they can watch fencing demonstrations or have their fortunes told.

At the street fair a miller will be grinding wheat and a peanut vendor roasting and shelling nuts. Over 100 crafts people from the mid-Atlantic region will be on hand to demonstrate and sell their wares, including wooden toys, jewelry, pottery, cabinetry and leather goods. Children will have their own fair, where they play games of the Colonial period, such as boules, a bowling game using potatoes, and hoops and sticks, skittles and quoits.

A town crier will announce the events of the day. On the courthouse stage the Virginia Company will sing songs of the Colonial era and local professional actors will perform, while poetry readings are scheduled at the Norris Stone House Tea Room. Additional entertainment will be provided by Lula, a street performer from Australia, a German marching band, the Johnson Mountain Boys, gospel singers, minstrels and a hurdy-gurdy man. Admission is $4; free for children under 12. Parking is free in all town lots and in the parking garage. For information, call (703) 777-0519 or (800) 752-6118.

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All Out Arts Day The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington invites families to a day creative play on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All Out Arts Day features dancing, singing, storytelling, art activi ties and other family fun. Several area art organizations will participate in this year's event. The Wilmington Music School will hold a family sing of contemporary and folk songs. Center Stage Dance Company of Dover will offer a musical revue, and members of OperaDelaware will come dressed as characters from the children's classic "Charlotte's Web." There will also be a clown who makes balloon sculptures and a storyteller. Children can create their favorite food sculptures, decorate hats and participate in other free art activities.

There will also be music, dance and theater workshops for children, along with an art workshop in which participants can work alongside artists who are represented in the museum's current juried exhibition, Biennial '93. A nominal fee will be charged for these workshops, and food will be for sale.

Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. admission is free; thereafter the regular museum admission is in effect: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors,$2.50 for students with I.D., and free for children 6 and under. The museum is at 2301 Kentmere Parkway

in Wilmington. Call (302) 571-9590.

Revolutionary re-enactment

Gunston Hall in Lorton, Va., will be the site of a Revolutionary War encampment Aug. 21 and Aug. 22. The 64th Regiment of Foot, a re-created British regiment, will set up camp both days from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The regiment, known as the Black Knots, came to the Colonies in 1768. They fought in most of the major contests and never lost a battle.

Musket and drill demonstrations are scheduled both days at 1:30 p.m. There will be tents and marquees to house enlisted men and officers and a tent for food preparation. Costumed docents will demonstrate 18th-century hearth cooking in the plantation kitchen.

Activities are included in the regular admission fee of $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1.50 for students in grades 1 through 12. Take the Lorton Exit 163 off Interstate 95 south from Washington. Call (703) 550-9220.

Montgomery County fair

County fairs fill the calendar in August. The 45th Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, one of the East Coast's largest, opens Friday for nine days at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg.

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