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Battlefield Tour and Patriots Week Events Celebrate New Jersey’s Revolutionary Days

COLONIAL GIRLS: Photographer Andrew Wilkinson took this portrait of two “Colonial Maids” during last year’s Patriots Week. Recent years have seen an explosion in events that delve into women’s roles during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about events from December 26 through December 31, visit: patriotsweek.com.

COLONIAL GIRLS: Photographer Andrew Wilkinson took this portrait of two “Colonial Maids” during last year’s Patriots Week. Recent years have seen an explosion in events that delve into women’s roles during the Revolutionary War period. For more information about events from December 26 through December 31, visit: patriotsweek.com.

The year 2014 marks the 350th Anniversary of the State of New Jersey and the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) will kick off the celebration with a New Year’s Day “real-time” Tour of the Battle of Princeton at Princeton Battlefield State Park. 

Re-enactor and British army historian Will Tatum III will lead the tour from the Thomas Clarke House at 500 Mercer Street, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., tracing the steps of American and British units at the same time of day as the original battle on January 3, 1777, a crucial turning point in the American Revolution. Admission is free. A suggested donation of $5 per person will be used for the renovation of the Thomas Clarke House. Warm clothes and stout shoes or boots are advised. To take part, email: princetonbattlefieldtours@gmail.com. For more information, visit: www.theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.

The PBS tour is part of this year’s Patriots Week activities from December 26 through December 31 that begin right after the reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Day.

In 1776, the tide-turning battles of the American Revolution were waged on the streets and surrounding fields of downtown Trenton. Patriots Week, celebrates the history of New Jersey’s capital city with concerts, walking and bus tours, music, lectures, exhibitions, and hands-on activities for families, history buffs, re-enactors and culture seekers alike.

According to Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) organizer Amy Brummer, Patriots Week began in 2004 as a way to bring more people into the capital city. It is produced by TDA in partnership with the Old Barracks Museum, which has been staging Battle of Trenton re-enactments for more than 20 years.

Ms. Brummer managed Patriots Week in its second year and has long been a fan of activities that follow the annual Washington reenactment on Christmas Day.

Revolutionary War historian David McCullough wrote: “Trenton was the first great cause of hope, a brave and truly brilliant stroke …. With the victory at Trenton came the realization that Americans had bested the enemy, bested the fearsome Hessians, the King’s detested hirelings, outsmarted them, and outfought them, and so might well again …”

Each year sees the addition of new Patriots Week events that, in addition to battle re-enactments, include music, art, dancing, dining, poetry, history presentations, book signings, exhibits, and tours. In recent years, there has been an effort to make the program more inclusive, bringing in cultural events that focus on the role of women and of African Americans. “Many people are surprised to learn just how multicultural colonial society in Trenton was. It was not a homogeneous society by any means and there were many different religious groups, such as Quakers, Episcopalians and Presbyterians,” said Ms. Brummer.

New this year is a reading of the poetry of Phillis Wheatley by Dr. Amanda Kemp, with violin accompaniment, at the Trenton Friends Meeting House. “We are also partnering with ArtWorks for a drop-in session where visitors write letters and make cards to send to active soldiers serving overseas. They will be delivered around Valentines Day and this is a way to connect history with current events,” said Ms. Brummer, whose favorite activity is the New Citizen Swearing-In ceremony at 11 a.m. on December 26, in the City Hall Council Chambers, 319 E. State Street.

Also new are “Martha Washington’s Kitchen Garden” at 3 p.m. on December 27 at the New Jersey State Museum and a New Year’s Eve Celebration: Capital Philharmonic at 8 p.m. in the Patriots Theater. Romanian-born pianist Gabriela Imreh will perform the Spellbound Concerto from Hitchcock’s film and the orchestra, under the baton of Daniel Spalding, will perform music from around the world including works by Franz Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, and Johann Strauss, Jr.

Besides the battle re-
enactments and the Colonial Dinner, held this year at the First Presbyterian Church, Ms. Brummer recommends the Colonial Ball in which a lot of re-enactors participate. “People come from all over and wear period clothing and long dresses. It’s like a Revolutionary War Prom,” she said.

Most of the events are free, but tickets are required for the Colonial Ball, and food events, such as Tea at the restored 1719 William Trent House at 15 Market Street, Trenton’s oldest building and a National Historic Landmark.

William Trent House

The New Year will be celebrated in Scottish fashion at the restored 1719 William Trent House, 15 Market Street, Trenton with a
traditional Hogmanay, Friday, December 27, at 12:30 p.m. Bagpiper Patty Downey will celebrate William Trent’s Scottish heritage with a program of winter and Scottish music. Trenton Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson will host and there will be complimentary hot mulled cider and cookies. No reservations are needed.

On Sunday, December 29, at 2 p.m., Susan McLellan Plaisted of Heart to Hearth Cookery, will offer an 18th century tea and explore the etiquette and meaning of tea in colonial times. The tearoom will be set with linens and the famous pink china that was custom-made for the Trent House. Period dress is welcome but not required. Tickets are $15, $10 for supporters. Reservations required, pre-payment appreciated. Seating is limited, make your reservation today at 609-989-0087 or trenthouseassociation@verizon.net. For more information, visit: www.williamtrenthouse.org.

Space is limited for many activities, so call beforehand. For a full schedule of Patriots Week events, program descriptions, and to purchase tickets, visit: www.patriotsweek.com.

 

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