Mac McCurdy (left)

Muskets and lavender: Revolutionary War re-enactments part of Sequim Lavender Weekend

Today and tonight signify Friday, July 17.

PORT ANGELES — Re-enactors dressed as British redcoats confront a group of ersatz militiamen, demanding they “disperse at once.”

They are met with defiance from the militiamen and boos from the attentive audience.

A shot rings out from an unknown source — “the shot heard round the world” at the skirmish at Lexington Green that signaled the beginning of the American Revolution in 1775.

The British engage the rebels. Heavily outnumbered, the militia retreat while the British proceed to Concord.

The mock battle is one of two performed daily through Sunday at the inaugural Northwest Colonial Festival and Militia Muster at the George Washington Inn.

The inn — a luxury bed-and-breakfast at 939 Finn Hall Road, between Port Angeles and Sequim on a bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca — is a re-creation of George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Va.

During the enactments, the 7th Company, Brigade of Guards square off against the 2nd Connecticut Regiment of Militia, recreating the April 19, 1775, battles of Lexington and Concord, Mass., which sparked the American Revolutionary War.

The two groups engaged previously on Wednesday and Thursday. During the opening days of the festival, about 135 people attended each day, watching as history unfolded before their eyes.

The inn-farm is also the venue for the Washington Lavender Festival, part of Sequim Lavender Weekend.

The festival is held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Sunday, with the skirmish at Lexington Green at noon and the battle at Concord’s North Bridge at 2:30 p.m.

A cannon demonstration — featuring two British Grasshopper howitzers — will be held daily at 4:30 p.m.

Admission to the colonial/lavender festival is $10 per car for up to six people — $5 for additional adults/children, with children younger than 6 admitted free.

Admission includes access to the battle re-enactments, demonstrations, food vendors, music concerts on the weekend and the lavender farm’s fields and gift shop — and photo ops in the lavender fields and with the battle re-enactors.

The inn’s surrounding lavender fields comprise the Washington Lavender Farm.

During the festival, there will be a colonial village, British and militia camps, plus wool-spinning, gunsmithing and blacksmithing with colonial-period re-enactors.

Vernon Frykholm Jr., 66, of Sequim — a re-enactor depicting Gen. George Washington — will be camped on the grounds and available to the public throughout the festival.

Separate afternoon tea seatings at the inn on the weekend are available at $33.95 per person.

A full-scale replica of the North Bridge has been set up in the inn’s lavender fields.

The $10,000 bridge was funded by the George Washington Society and donations from local businesses.

The cannon demonstration is organized by a group based in El Centro, Calif.

“The reason they are called that is because when you fire them with a full load, they hop,” explained re-enactor Bob Hays, 83, of El Centro, Calif.

He owns the two howitzers, and also participates in Civil War re-enactments throughout the West Coast.

“They are [a] short range combination between a mortar and a cannon,” he said.

“They are great against infantry, and because of the high elevation they have they can lob shells into a fortification.”

Jack Pauly of Phoenix, portraying Major John Redmayne of the 7th Company, Brigade of Guards, enjoys re-enacting the enemy.

“It is not a popular persona because we have the natural tendency to evoke the boo-hooery,” he said.

“There is part of that we drink up. But we try to educate people to the fact that the British soldier is not a villain,” Pauly continued.

“He is committed very much to what he believes, to what he is supporting, and suppressing a civil disturbance — a rebellion — against the crown, which is the legal and lawful government.”

And somebody has to portray the enemy to make the experience more realistic, he said.

“You’ve got to have a credible representation of the enemy,” he said.

It is Pauly’s sincerest hope that the colonial festival becomes an annual tradition and grows in size each year.

“This is really the first major step forward of what the event organizers, and what I hope for our sake, becomes a major event here in the West,” he said.

“Hopefully, by the time we come back next year, maybe we will have doubled in size.”

History must never be forgotten, Pauly said, noting that is a major reason he became a re-enactor.

“I think we have a responsibility, as well as an opportunity, of learning and understanding, embracing our history and our legacy.

“If we cannot do that, if we are unwilling to do that, then how can we expect to maintain the very principals of what was the base foundation of what this country was founded upon, stands upon and hopefully will continue?”

Pauly warned that a “country that cannot and will not embrace, appreciate and understand its own history is doomed to repeat obviously some very painful lessons from the past.”

To buy advance tickets or for more information, click on www.colonialfestival.com or go to www.facebook.com/walavenderfestival.

Or phone the inn at 360-452-5207.

All proceeds from the Northwest Colonial Festival will go to the George Washington Society, a newly created nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of colonial history.

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or [email protected]

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