Story by Sara Paul
George and Martha smile under a shady tree while muskets fire in the distance and brave ladies protest a tax on tea.
Occurring in 2018, not the late 18th century, the Warwick Historical Society partnered with the Friends of Hathorn House Living History group to present the annual George Washington Day Celebration on Sun., Jul. 29.
Anachronisms ran amuck in Lewis Park, as the Washingtons arrived in a Mustang convertible and attendees took “colonial selfies” with the nation’s original first family.
Highlighted by interactive crafts such as colonial cooking and soap making, the event marks General Washington’s visit to Warwick with his troops as he traveled on King’s Hwy. between Newburgh, NY and Morristown, NJ in July of 1782.
“Our goal is to encourage residents and guests, particularly children, to become more interested and informed about local history. Our archaeology team showed some of their recent discoveries from the Shingle House, a Warwick home built in 1764 that was standing when Washington’s troops marched through the Village,” said Mary Ann Knight, Education Chair of the Warwick Historical Society.
“There is a rich history here and we want to keep it alive,” noted Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who was on hand with his wife, Deborah, a colonial re-enactor.
With live reenactments and volunteers taking on centuries old personas, Mrs. Sweeton reveals that at the event she was really “Nancy Pogue,” her fifth great-grandmother.
Supervisor Sweeton commented that the Warwick Historical Society is a valued not-for-profit organization which raises its own funds for the maintenance of the landmark properties it oversees, including Lewis Park.
Friends of Hathorn House members recreated themselves as “colonial avatars” and informed attendees about the small, stone Hathorn House built in 1773 and the efforts to preserve it.
“We are having a good time and also educating Warwick,” said Friends of Hathorn House Vice President, Melody Olsen.
With informative, hands-on stations that included spinning textiles, colonial cursive writing, and also climbing to the tall pulpit at the Old Baptist Church, children who completed all activities on their “History Passport” were awarded ice cream cone vouchers for the Bellvale Creamery.
Kids also enjoyed hoop games, sack races and musket drills led by members of the New York 5th reenactment regiment.
For information about the Warwick Historical Society, call 986-3236, ext. 106 or visit www.whsny.org.