By Bernie Petit
A weekend devoted to the American Revolution will include a tribute to the Founding Father that was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the heart of his countrymen.”
The festivities will include a Patriot Day Celebration, which will take place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at The Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive. The free communitywide celebration will feature crafts in the museum’s Creativity Room, a Revolutionary War campsite and self-guided tours inside the museum.
On the grounds, visitors can explore the American Freedom Bell, the Backcountry Patriot statue, colonial games, an herb garden, the kitchen and the springhouse, as well as tour the historic Hezekiah Alexander House.
The Historic Cooking Guild of the Catawba Valley will demonstrate 18th-century foodways, and the Charlotte Folk Society will hold its annual Old-Time Music Jam & Ice Cream Social. Old-time, Celtic and bluegrass music will be performed and a song circle, storytelling and a clogging demonstration will also be featured. Ice cream will be available while supplies last.
The special guest will be the commander-in-chief that led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War and then became our first president – George Washington, as interpreted by Kevin Grantz. Grantz, a 25-year veteran actor of the stage (over 100 productions) and screen (“The Contender,” “Species 2”), played the nation’s first president in the 2007 television documentary “Liberty or Death.” He is also the founder and president of Virginia Patriots, a professional organization of historic interpreters.
During the day, President Washington, as portrayed by Grantz, will ring the American Freedom Bell, dedicate a tree to the Daughters of the American Revolution and dedicate a desk donated to the museum by the family of Betty Nisbet, a descendant of Hezekiah Alexander – who led Charlotte’s de facto government following the end of royal government – and a museum volunteer instrumental in the preservation of the home site.
The weekend begins with Washington participating in a lively, informative discussion with Captain James Jack, portrayed by
historian and Central Piedmont Community College President Tony Zeiss. Captain Jack carried the Mecklenburg declaration documents to the Continental Congress in 1775.
While that event – “A Trifling Place: A Conversation with President George Washington and Captain James Jack” – takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at Tate Hall on the campus of CPCC (1206 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte), the setting will be 1791.
President Washington is traveling to Charlotte to thank residents for their contribution to the American Revolution. He and
Captain Jack will reminisce about the great rebellion and entertain questions from the audience. Conversational topics include the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the Mecklenburg Resolves and the Battle of Charlotte. Tickets for the Friday night event are $50 and are available by calling 704-968-5343 or mailing a completed order form, available at www.charlottemuseum.org.