The go-to historical reenactment event of the peninsula, the Northwest Colonial Festival, returns for its fourth year Aug. 9-12.
Volunteers dedicate themselves to sharing what life was like in colonial times and reenacting the events of April 19, 1775, when The American Revolutionary War began.
Set around the George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm at 939 Finn Hall Road just west of Sequim, dozens of reenactors plan to portray historical figures such as George and Martha Washington and British redcoats. Two of the daily highlights include the “Skirmish on Lexington Green” at 10:30 a.m. and the “Battle for Concord Bridge” at 2:30 p.m.
Janet Abbott, event co-organizer and co-owner of the inn, said the battles are just one part of many educational and fun offerings, including the Colonial Village.
“The village has so many opportunities to learn our nation’s history,” she said.
Throughout the event, visitors can see period-appropriate colonial dancing, listen in on historical discussions, see sword fights, hear the Columbia Fife & Drum Corps, participate in traditional teas daily at 1:30 p.m. (individual tickets for this event cost $37 and are available through www.colonialfestival.com), and much more.
Jane Ritchey, event co-organizer and Martha Washington actor, said the event overall has gotten much bigger in its four years with more than 60 reenactors expected for the long weekend.
“It’s promising to offer all kinds of skills and demos to people to learn about colonial times,” she said.
Following last year’s closure of the McDonald Creek Bridge on Old Olympic Highway during the festival, Ritchey said organizers hope for more than 3,000 visitors this year with the road reopened.
Organizers said volunteers have promoted the event more this year, too, through parades, special appearances from reenactors, advertising in various publications and more.
Vern Frykholm, who portrays George Washington at the event, said their hope is to reach markets along I-5 and beyond.
“We’re not only a nonprofit event (run by the George Washington Society, a 501(C)3 nonprofit), but we’re trying to run a good business,” he said.
Abbott said as the event continues they’ve been able to refine it to know what people want. She emphasizes the event is family-friendly, too, for its educational aspects and hands-on opportunities for children.
Historical presentations and patriotic displays will once again be provided by the Washington State Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR, and Sons of the American Revolution, SAR, near the inn along with the DAR organizing the Boston Children’s Village with clothes to wear and become colonists, period-appropriate games to play and Betsy Ross’s house to experience.
Military and Revolutionary War historian Jeff Dacus returns to narrate battles and speak about the events leading to them.
Frykholm said there’s a strong slate of speakers in-between battles, including Dacus and other historians.
He said one highlight for him is that Dr. Gove and Veronnica Allen or Utah return with their replica of Isaiah Thomas’ printing operations. The couple help run the Colonial Heritage Festival each year that brings in more than 40,000 people to Orem, Utah.
“The fact that they come for our event is a testament to what we’re doing here,” Frykholm said.
The Northwest Colonial Festival features food from Jeremiah’s BBQ, Aloha Smoothies and the farm’s snack shop with lavender lemonade and ice cream.
Tickets cost $15 per adult with discounts for active duty military and their spouses, seniors, teens and children with children 2 and under free. Each ticket is good for the whole weekend with the event running daily 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 9-12.