Olde tyme fun: Thanksgiving re-enactments at new Court Square
For the past 11 years, the Jeffersonian Thanksgiving Festival has brought a little revolutionary history to downtown Charlottesville. In Jackson Park beside the newly restored Court Square area, 18th-century period actors have set up living history vignettes full of famous characters, exploding canons, tasty meat snacks, and even a re-enactment of a slave auction.
This year's famous faces include Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Daniel Boone, as well as a large supporting cast of minstrels, wives, and foot soldiers. The family-friendly event's eight-day run (through November 27) touts historical events such as artillery firing, the British invasion of Charlottesville, and a screening of the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot.
As expected, the historical actors keep in character, interacting with locals who come for a little blast from the past. The Red Coats are cocky with their British accents as the Americans talk nobly of glorious battles defeating them. The newly bricked streets (with buried utility lines) help blur the lines of reality and fantasy.
With so many commercialized Thanksgiving events planned this week, it's refreshing to see there's still a place for a little low-tech educational fun.
Captain Deamer authorizes Bob Dean to commence firing.
John DuRant, aka William Michie, serenades a young history buff with "Yankee Doodle."
Guns! Explosions! Cool!
Cornelius A. Banker tries to get $250 for his slave, Balau.
The Brits and Yanks square off with furious taunts.
George Washington is the Man!