'Colonists' descend on Leesburg, Va., for court days


August 14, 1994|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

August Court Days will bring our Colonial forebears to Leesburg, Va., next weekend. Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe will be there, along with more than 100 other costumed re-enactors, who will present street vignettes, participate in 18th-century dances, demonstrate fencing and give lectures on period clothing.

The August event is a re-creation of the days in the mid-to-late 1700s when the court was in session and farm families in the outlying areas came to town to hear the latest news, exchange gossip, buy and sell wares and enjoy the street entertainment.

Presented by the the Loudoun Restoration and Preservation Society, the celebration will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a four-block area of Leesburg's historic district centered at the intersection of King and Market streets.

The area will be closed to traffic and transformed into a street fair. A peanut vendor will be roasting and shelling peanuts, and a miller will be grinding wheat into flour. You'll see woodworkers, weavers, metalworkers, a toy maker and many other crafts people. The Maryland Militia will also be on hand to demonstrate daily life in a Revolutionary War encampment along with the 1st Virginia Regiment and the 71st Highlanders Regiment (a group loyal to the king). The latter group will be looking for Colonial traitors, but the town crier will assure the assemblage that "all is well" as he walks the streets ringing his bell.

Strolling musicians will be at the fair, and music and dance of the Colonial period will be performed on the courthouse steps. You'll hear a concert by nationally acclaimed bluegrass musicians Robin and Linda Williams, as well as a Sunday concert by the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry "Old Guard" fife and drum corps. There will also be children's games and food.

Admission is $4; free for children under 12. For information, call (800) 752-6118 or (703) 777-0519.

Civil War re-enactment

The 1864 Valley Campaign will mark its 130th anniversary with living-history presentations and battle re-enactments Saturday and next Sunday at Long Branch Plantation in Millwood, Va., near Winchester, said to be one of the finest manor houses in Virginia Hunt Country.

About 4,000 soldiers are expected to participate in the camp-life activities along with hundreds of authentically dressed civilians. Camps will be open both days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and throughout each day there will be camp tours, artillery, cavalry and infantry demonstrations and field-hospital exhibits. Local vendors will be selling refreshments and Civil War-related memorabilia.

Highlights of the weekend include the Mill Creek cavalry battle at 1 p.m. and the battle of Third Winchester at 3 p.m. Saturday, and Tom's Brook cavalry battle at 12:30 p.m. and Fisher's Hill at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets cost $9; free for children under 6. There is a $4 charge for parking. Long Branch can be reached from Interstate 81 or

Interstate 66. Call (703) 837-1856.

First Africans

Jamestown Settlement will be the site on Saturday for a commemoration of the 375th anniversary of the arrival of the first people of African origin in British North America. The first group -- was captured from Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and arrived in Virginia in 1619 aboard a Dutch ship.

"The Arrival, Jamestown 1619: From African to African American" uses one of the settlement's 17th-century ship replicas in a symbolic ship landing. One of the ship's passengers will be a descendant of William Tucker, the first named African child born in Virginia. As the ship docks, a welcoming procession, including a group of drummers, will gather at the river bank as Rex Ellis of the Smithsonian Institution presents historical information to the audience.

The opening ceremony is at 11:30 a.m. followed by a full schedule of activities until 6 p.m. Baltimore storyteller Mary Carter Smith and costumed interpreters from Colonial Williamsburg will be engaged in storytelling, and interpreters will demonstrate and discuss music and dance and instruct visitors in African dances. There will also be a discussion and display of African food, food preparation, clothing and fabric design, and a vignette about an 18th-century slave.

An entertainment stage will provide continuous dance and music related to the African-American heritage. There will be a dramatization by the Elegba Folklore Society of Richmond, more than 40 African arts and crafts vendors, as well as contemporary crafts by African-Americans, art activities for children, games, and three documentary films.

Admission is included in the museum admission of $7.50 for adults; $3.75 for children 6 to 12. The museum is on state Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. Call (804) 253-4838.

Antique cars

The Francis Scott Key Antique Car Club is holding its ninth annual Antique Car Show next Sunday at Rose Hill Manor Children's Museum and Historic Park in Frederick from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 300 cars from the early 1900s through 1974 are expected to participate, including military vehicles, trucks and sports cars. There will also be an automotive flea market and car corral, entertainment throughout the day and food and drink for sale.

Admission is free to the car show, but there is a charge to tour the museum: $3 for adults; $2 for seniors; $1 for ages 2 to 17. The museum is at 1611 N. Market St. in Frederick. Call (301) 694-1648.

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