Vern Frykholm, right, walks across the 2018 Colonial Festival portraying George Washington alongside Jane Ritchey, left, portraying Martha Washington. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Vern Frykholm, right, walks across the 2018 Colonial Festival portraying George Washington alongside Jane Ritchey, left, portraying Martha Washington. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

5th annual Northwest Colonial Festival brings more history

More reenactors joining to add more knowledge to event

AGNEW — For the fifth year, the Northwest Colonial Festival returns to George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm.

Running from Thursday through next Sunday, Aug. 11, the historical reenactment aims to bring the start of the Revolutionary War to life for visitors at the George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm at 965 Finn Hall Road.

Adult tickets will be $15 for the entire weekend at the gate.

Seniors and active duty military will pay $10, teens pay $5, and children 3-11 are $2.

Children 2 and younger will be admitted free.

Discounted rates are available for advance tickets online at https://colonialfestival.wordpress.com/tickets/.

A special limited “Dinner with the Founders” package is available for Thursday and Friday night that includes a special evening meal with the re-enactors. Tickets are $65 plus tax — $70.63.

The George Washington Inn, built as a replica of the Mount Vernon home of the first President of the United States, stands over the proceedings, offering panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Volunteers spend the entire weekend sharing in great detail what life was like in 1775 at the start of the American Revolutionary War.

Dozens of re-enactors are on hand to portray a variety of major historical figures, including George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Esther Reed.

Reenactments of the Battle of Lexington are at 11 a.m. each of the four days, and the Battle for Concord Bridge is reenacted at 3 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Both battles were crucial moments in sparking the fire that became the Revolutionary War in April 1775.

Vern Frykholm, who has portrayed George Washington at the George Washington Inn and elsewhere since 2012, said that events like this can be important not only to teach history, but also to help inform modern discourse.

“I’ve made presentations to schools and to veterans groups and to political groups speaking as President Washington,” Frykholm said, “and they’ve told me they saw some of the things I say about today’s situations from a founding father’s perspective were absolutely eye-opening.”

Frykholm and other portrayers put a lot of time and effort into studying the historical figures they’re performing as, because as Frykholm said, “it’s very important that we be accurate historically, both in our scripted speeches and when we’re answering questions in-character.”

The Northwest Colonial Festival — which is operated by the nonprofit George Washington Society — features presentations by the Washington State Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution and various historical and cultural experts on the period as well as musical performances.

More re-enactors and character portrayers are planned this year than in previous years to bring more and different perspectives to the narration of the even compared to the past, which Frykholm referred to as part of the “maturation” of the festival.

Another aspect of that maturation, according to Frykholm, is that all of the Redcoats — the British soldiers — will be portrayed by area locals this year instead of by people from historical societies in California and Oregon as they have in past years.

“There’s enough interest and engagement in this now that we don’t need to reach out for help like we used to,” Frykholm said.

For more information on the festival, download the program from www.colonialfestival.com, or pick one up at the event.

Further information also can be found at facebook.com/colonialfestival.

________

Conor Dowley is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

While in past years the British Redcoats have mostly come from California and Oregon, this year they’ll all be reenactors from around the area according to Vern Frykholm. (Matt Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

While in past years the British Redcoats have mostly come from California and Oregon, this year they’ll all be reenactors from around the area according to Vern Frykholm. (Matt Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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