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Newburgh historic site to celebrate Washington's birthday this weekend
Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh will celebrate George Washington’s 281st birthday with a free three-day event this weekend. The event will feature Revolutionary War re-enactors, period music, candle making, a magic show, history talks and birthday cake for all.
Newburgh figures into George Washington’s story more than you might expect. According to Elyse B. Goldberg, the historic site manager, Newburgh was where “the general was headquartered for 16 ½ months during the Revolutionary War. During this time, he created the Badge of Military Merit, forerunner to the Purple Heart. He also penned the Newburgh Addresses, which squelched the Newburgh Conspiracy, renounced the idea of America becoming a monarchy, and wrote the general orders that announced the cessation of hostilities that effectively stopped the fighting, leading the way to the end of the war.”
At 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, re-enactor John Koopman, dressed as Washington, will kick off the festivities by cutting his birthday cake. On each day a different Revolutionary War re-enactor group will regale guests with stories about their regiments and demonstrate their military prowess with drills on the field. Washington will greet visitors in his headquarters, while local musician Thaddeus MacGregor will sing period songs and play his cigar-box guitar and maybe his mandolin, flute and fife, too.
Scheduled special presentations include a performance by storyteller Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi and a history lecture on 18th century clothing on Saturday; a magic performance and a lecture on Revolutionary-era medicine and medical practices on Sunday; and three talks on Monday, including “The First Ladies Name Game,” “Dining At Washington’s Headquarters” and “The Newburgh Addresses.”
Children will be able to dip candles as a take-home craft each afternoon, and the General’s store will be open throughout, selling souvenirs and books.
Support for the event is provided by the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the Palisades Parks Conservancy.
IF YOU GO
What: George Washington’s 281st birthday party celebration in Newburgh
When: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday-Monday, Feb. 16-18
Info: Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, Liberty Street and Washington Street, Newburgh; 845-562-1195; nysparks.com/historic-sites/17/details.aspx; free (donations accepted)