{mosimage}In 2007, the Lafayette 250 Committee of Arrangements and the Lafayette Society staged a celebration of the Marquis de Lafayette’s 250th birthday. Fayetteville, the first city to be named after Lafayette, was recognized last year by proclamations in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as the place “where North Carolina celebrates Lafayette’s birthday.” 
In 2008, the Lafayette Society will sponsor Fayetteville’s annual Lafayette birthday celebration Sept. 4-6. Numerous fun and educational activities are planned and many downtown merchants will feature Lafayette Birthday Specials.
    •On Thursday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m., the Headquarters Library will host Boston historian Alan R. Hoffman, who translated Lafayette In America: 1824-1825. This is a journal of Lafayette’s triumphal return visit to America. The free program will start off with a short documentary film on the 250th celebration in Fayetteville. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
    • On Friday, Sept. 5, there will be a bus tour of the Lafayette Trail. Participants may retrace Lafayette’s visit to Fayetteville in 1825 with live narration by city historian Bruce Daws. The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and pastries at the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry museum on Burgess Street and ends with lunch at McDuff’s Tea Room. The tour and lunch are $20. Space is limited. Reservations may be made by calling 678-8899.
    •That evening at 6 p.m., an illustrated history of Lafayette’s life and contributions will be unveiled at City Center Gallery & Books. Illustrated by graphic arts students at Fayetteville State University, Hero of Two Worlds uses a comic book format to tell the story of Lafayette and his contributions to mankind.
     • On Saturday, Sept. 6, there will be a block party for Lafayette’s birthday around the Market House downtown. The Fayetteville Animal Protection Society will stage the Lafayette Dog Parade in front of Horne’s Café at 9 a.m. Poodles and other French breeds will be featured, but others are welcome to participate if they or their owners come in costume with a French or colonial theme. Horne’s will host a pancake breakfast for $6 to benefit FAPS, and the doors will open at 7 a.m.
    •The All-American Fencing Academy will have hourly fencing demonstrations under the Market House starting at 10 a.m. Between the matches, academy students and instructors will discuss sword techniques and the history of fencing.
    •Also at the Market House, the Sons of the American Revolution will host a display of Revolutionary War military equipment and uniforms. Methodist University will display items from its Lafayette collection, and the Fayetteville Transportation Museum will display educational panels on Lafayette’s visit to Fayetteville in 1825.
    •The Museum of the Cape Fear will offer colonial era games for children and a coloring contest in front of Dock’s. The first 100 children to color in the contest will receive a free ice cream cone from Rita’s and a chance to display their artwork that day. The museum will also host a Colonial-themed “Saturday History Special” on the museum grounds at 2 p.m.
    •There will also be a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. for a time capsule to be placed inside the base of the Lafayette statue in Cross Creek Park by the Sons of the American Revolution and the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry. The statue was erected in 1983 with funds raised by the Lafayette Society. Items from 1983 will be on display along with items from the 200th birthday celebration in 1957.
    In addition to the activities downtown, the Lafayette Rotary Club will host The Lafayette Run to benefit the ABC Dictionary Project at 9 a.m. at Fayetteville Technical Community College. The Lafayette Run includes a 10k and a 5k race, as well as a 1-mile fun run/walk. It is a USATF sanctioned event.
    Additional information may be found in the timeline below, at  HYPERLINK “http://www.lafayettesociety.org” www.lafayettesociety.org or by contacting Hank Parfitt at 286-3979 or  hankparfitt@embarqmail.com.

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