Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fredericksburg's Fourth

The 4th of July is celebrated in downtown Fredericksburg pretty much the same way it’s celebrated in a lot of towns across the U.S.: street festival, food and craft vendors, kids activities, music and fireworks. It looks like it was pretty much the same idea in Port Royal, Culpeper, Colonial Beach, and Caroline County. Fredericksburg has the added attractions of a raft race on the Rappahannock, a parade that anyone can participate in, and sometimes a chili cook-off (sadly, not this year).

We were entertaining visiting dignitaries* for the holiday, so decided to check out the downtown festival, and then take the trolley over to the Ferry Farm celebration. Of course, every Fredericksburger knows the big news at Ferry Farm: that after seven years of archaeological excavation, they announced this week that the digging has unearthed the actual foundation of George Washington’s boyhood home. George lived there from the age of 6 until he was 20 and moved to Mt. Vernon (1738-1754), and while Ferry Farm has been open for years as the “site” of George’s home, everyone is pretty worked up that now we can see the exact location. To the non-history buff, I imagine it’s still just a hole in the ground. But everyone out there is energized by the finding, and the combination of that big news, plus the usual Fourth of July festivities (and a July day less than 98 degrees) made the event especially successful.

The day ended as it has almost every year we’ve lived in Fredericksburg: watching the fireworks. We’ll go wherever the city decides to shoot them off, from Park & Shop in the early days, to Old Mill Park, to Central Park, but are thrilled to have finally landed back at Old Mill in recent years, where the traditional fireworks viewing can always end with a trip to Carl’s.

What the Ferry Farm fuss is all about: that hole is George's basement!

Colonial interpreters fixing themselves some 18th century snacks:

George himself takes a load off:

Who doesn't love a trolley ride? And look how quickly they got those "Washington House Site Found" banners made:

Some colonial entertainment–the slack rope walker:

Back downtown, where the Italian ices get a good review:

There were reportedly 160 vendors at the street festival on and around Sophia Street. You could buy a wooden pelican with a rubber fish in its mouth. Hard to believe we passed this up.

*as my brother likes to be called


Anonymous said...

Lets see if this works

GG said...

I love the photo with the Italian ice. It reminds me of the Tim Allen show where you only see his neighbor under a hat or behind a fence