AGNEW — When some people in the Pacific Northwest hear the word “colonial,” they think of Lewis and Clark or divisions between north and south, said Pam Gassman, event planner for the Northwest Colonial Festival.
To her, that means “there’s work to be done.”
Enter the eighth Northwest Colonial Festival, again at the George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm, 939 Finn Hall Road, Port Angeles.
The annual festival runs today through Sunday with skirmishes between re-enactors of British Regulars and the colonial militia, demonstrations and discussions of life during the American Revolutionary War.
“It’s a very family-friendly thing, and we want it to be a multi-level experience,” Gassman said.
“Kids and adults can learn. People who come have later wanted to help and participate. We’re always open to inviting more people.”
Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 teens/seniors/military and $1 children ages 2-12. They are available online at colonialfestival.com and at the door.
This year, about 75 re-enactors are anticipated to re-create life from around 1775 as part of a full event. The previous two years were a casual reenactment with fewer offerings with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place.
Jane Ritchie plans to portray Martha Washington one more year while continuing to share her knowledge about fibers and women’s contributions during the time.
“Women helped with the revolution. They may not be necessarily manning the cannons, but holding down the home fronts,” she said.
“(The festival is a) great way to present women’s history in the effort for independence — supporting troops, making their clothes, carrying on their family businesses (post office, farms, law firms, etc.).
“Women have played a significant role. Now that it’s available, we can show them some were spies too.”
This year’s festival features a larger education area with discussions on a variety of subjects such as colonial medicine and financing the revolution.
Organizers promise an expanded fiber crafts area for spinning and weaving, a children’s area with scavenger hunts, games, crafts and more throughout the festival.
Today, re-enactors will demonstrate firearm handling and other battle techniques in the battlefield and camp areas. At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, skirmishes will be held on the front lawn.
Jeff Dacus, portraying George Washington, will narrate once again and share information about the soldiers and politics of the times.
Gassman said organizers hope to bring an understanding and sense of thrill to the West Coast with the history of the United States that’s more prevalent closer to historical sites on the East Coast.
“It’s important we know about the American Revolution as there are a lot of bad things and good things in our history. I don’t want to whitewash it,” she said.
“As humanitarians, we have progressed, and have learned much from each other. It’s good to teach to see how far you’ve come and show you how far you have to go.”
For more information about the event, visit colonialfestival.com.
Matthew Nash 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.