For the fifth year, the Northwest Colonial Festival returns to George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm. Running from Aug. 8-11, the historical reenactment event is set to bring to life the start of the Revolutionary War.
A replica of the Mount Vernon home of the first President of the United States, the George Washington Inn, along with the Olympic Mountains, serves as sceinic backdrop over the historical proceedings, as volunteers spend the weekend sharing in detail what life was like in 1775 at the start of the American Revolutionary War.
According to George Washington Inn owner Dan Abbott, more than 40 reenactors will be on hand to portray a variety of major historical figures, including George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Esther Reed and more.
The event also includes daily reenactments of the Battle of Lexington at 11 a.m. each of the four days, and the Battle for Concord Bridge at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Both battles were crucial moments in sparking the fire that became the Revolutionary War in April 1775.
Vern Frkyholm, who has portrayed George Washington at various events at the George Washington Inn and elsewhere since 2012, said that events like this can be important not just to teach the history of these events, but also to help inform modern discourse.
“I’ve made presentations to schools and to veterans groups and to political groups speaking as President Washington,” Frykholm said, “and they’ve told me they saw some of the things I say about today’s situations from a founding father’s perspective were absolutely eye-opening.”
Frykholm and other portrayers put a lot of time and effort into studying the historical figures they’re performing as, because as Frykholm says, “It’s very important that we be accurate historically, both in our scripted speeches and when we’re answering questions in-character.”
Run by the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization the George Washington Society, the Northwest Colonial Festival features presentations by the Washington State Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution and various historical and cultural experts on the period, as well as musical performances.
There will also be more reenactors and character portrayers this year than in previous events, to bring more and different perspectives to the narration of the even compared to the past, which Frykholm refers to as part of the “maturation” of the festival.
Another aspect of that maturation, according to Frykholm, is that all of the Redcoats — the British soldiers — will be portrayed by area locals this year instead of, as in previous events, by people from historical societies in Arizona.
“There’s enough interest and engagement in this now that we don’t need to reach out for help like we used to,” Frykholm said.
“We have people moving to Sequim to be a part of this event, both as reenactors and to help manage it,” Abbott said. “That says a lot about what we’ve been able to do so far.
Tickets are available online at colonialfestival.wordpress.com/tickets and this year adult tickets are $15 for the entire weekend. Discounted rates are available for active duty military, seniors, teens and children, with children 2 years old and younger receiving free entry.
Abbott said that there were a little more than 2,000 attendees last year, and he expects “at least that many” this year.
One change from last year’s event is that the grounds of the George Washington Inn itself will be off-limits to attendees to respect the privacy of the reenactors and other guests who are staying in the inn that weekend.
A limited amount of “Dinner with the Founders” packages are also available for Thursday and Friday night that include a special evening meal with some of the reenactors.