To commemorate the birthday of our city’s namesake, The Marquis de Lafayette, The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and the Lafayette Society will hold a Festival of Yesteryear: A Celebration of Early America at Arsenal Park; part of the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. The event is on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Lafayette Society has plenty to add to the festivities as well.
The event at the museum is described as a “living history” of our Colonial and Revolutionary War history. Costumed re-enactors demonstrating various aspects of daily life from the general chores to military drills will be on display.
“This is something that is a lot of fun and a little different from the Civil War activities that are popular here. This is actually focusing on things going on during the Revolutionary War during the colonial time period, which is when Lafayette was here, too,” said Megan Maxwell, the 1897 Poe House education coordinator. “Something new we are excited to be adding this year is the Tryon Palace’s Fife and Drum Corp from New Bern. That should be a lot of fun.”
Tryon Palace’s Fife and Drum Corp will perform cadences for the crowds at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
“Captain Dry’s Militia will be here, too. They come in uniform, which is different,” said Maxwell. “They have a fun activity for the kids where they can sign up to fight in the Revolutionary War.”
The North Carolina Highland Regiment and Captain Dry’s Militia Company will demonstrate military drills of the era and will also hold firing demonstrations at 11 a.m., 12:30, 2:30, and 3:30 pm.
The living history group, Camp Flintlock is going to provide demonstrations of day-to-day living of Colonials.
Children who come out are encouraged to visit Apprentice Alley. There they can learn and experience history through a “hands on” set of activities and crafts.
Admission to the event and all activities are free and open to the public. Additional information about the event is available online at www.ncdcr.gov/ncmcf/Events.
More specifically focused on celebrating Lafayette and educating people about his contributions to nation, the Lafayette Society has a fun-filled weekend planned as well. Friday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m., don’t miss Arias and Artifacts at Methodist University, which includes an exhibit of Lafayette memorabilia recently gifted to Methodist University.
Saturday, Sept. 6, is packed with activities. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Lafayette Birthday Farmers Market will be open at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. follow Lafayette’s footsteps from his 1824 visit to Fayetteville. “This is really a fun event and has sold out for the past three years,” said event spokeman Dr. Hank Parfitt. There is space for 30 on the tour. After an educational tour of the area, enjoy a French picnic inside the Market House hosted by Sherefe’s.
“The tour is led by City Historian Bruce Dawes and includes some walking. He does a fantastic job of bringing history to life and showing people how the events and places are relevant still today,” said Parfitt.
Call 910.678.8899 for tickets.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. enjoy the Lafayette/Rulnick Fencing Tournament at the All-American Fencing Academy.
Downtown merchants have planned a Lafayette Birthday Sidewalk sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. While you are downtown catch the Lafayette in Fayetteville exhibit at the Transportation Museum, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t miss the Lafayette District Scouting Expo at Cross Creek Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Army Ground Forces Band will make an appearance in Cross Creek Park at 1 p.m. In celebration of Lafayette’s birthday there will be free birthday cake and ice cream to the first 100 guests.
Round out the evening at the French Wine and Cheese Tasting at the Wine Café.
“An expert is on hand to tell people about the wines,” said Parfitt. “It will be a lot of fun and educational, too. That is really the best part of big celebrations like these. All of these events are enjoyable but they are also educational and it is always better if people have fun while they are learning.”
Find out more about Lafayette’s Birthday celebration at www.lafayettesociety.org.
Photo: Marquis de Lafayette