If you think it’s cold out imagine how General George Washington and his troops felt stomping about in the 18th century winter cold. To commemmorate the General’s 275th birthday weekend, February 17 through 19, Valley Forge National Historical Park in King of Prussia will stage living history stations throughout the park featuring the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment and the Oneida Indian Nation. The park was designed to preserve the natural and cultural resources that commemorate the encampment of the Continental Army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78.
It was at Valley Forge in February, 1778, that the first public celebration of Washington’s birth took place — when a group of soldiers serenaded him with music outside his Headquarters. He was 46 years old.
On Saturday, February 17, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. themed vignettes on Native Americans, African Americans, Medicine, Artillery, Quarter Marshalling and Supply will be featured. The day’s events mark the 94th annual Boy Scouts Pilgrimage to Valley Forge sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council. At least 2,400 boy scouts from eight states will descend on the famous Valley Forge encampment site for the chance to earn two specially designed patches. The first is the “Pilgrimage Patch” highlighting this year’s Boy Scout theme officer, Alan McClain, a captain and key spy in Washington’s Army. The second is the “Encampment Patch” highlighting a Native American.
On Sunday, February 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. visitors will see musket and artillery firing demonstrations, campfire cooking, and military drilling while learning why Washington was so revered by his troops. The 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment will participate and guided walks of the Park will be available.
On Monday, February 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Welcome Center, visitors will meet a costumed George Washington interpreter and learn what made Washington such a brilliant military leader. The park’s Encampment Store will sponsor “Kids Corner” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., where kids will have the opportunity to make their own tri-corner hats and birthday cards for General Washington. At 1 p.m., they and other attendees can enjoy slices of birthday cake (Martha Washington’s own recipe) followed by a Children’s March with living history interpreters and a cannon firing demonstration. At 2 p.m. in the Education Center, a park ranger will lead a lecture for adults on General Washington and his vital role in developing the Continental Army during the Valley Forge encampment.
Presidents Weekend at Valley Forge, Saturday through Monday, February 17 to 19. Visit www.nps.gov/vafo or call 610-783-1077.