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Battlefield Festival Will Celebrate Princeton's Historical Significance

Candace Braun

Pumpkins, ghosts, candy, and Princeton history will all be part of the Princeton Battlefield's Fall Festival this Sunday, October 30, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Held at Princeton Battlefield State Park, the festival is geared toward children of all ages, as well as adults. This is the first year that the Princeton Battlefield Society has hosted a fall festival.

"We wanted to do something different at the battlefield, and Halloween is a fun holiday for both children and adults," said Robert Rosetta, a trustee with the Princeton Battlefield Society. "Tying the festival to Halloween allows us a little more freedom to get creative."

Describing the occasion as a "haunting learning experience for children and adults," volunteer Anne Mavis said that the Princeton Battlefield would like to make the festival an annual event. She pointed out that the festival anticipates the 200th anniversary of the battle, which will occur in January.

Along with the traditional Halloween activities, where children will be encouraged to wear their costumes and receive candy, there will also be a number of activities related to the Princeton Battlefield, such as tours of the battlefield and the Clark House, as well as arts and crafts and story-telling activities.

Reenactors and a maker of wooden colonial toys will also be present to talk about the history of Princeton, along with Clifford F. Thies, the Eldon R. Lindsay Professor of Economics and Finance at Shenandoah University of Winchester, Va., who will speak on the topic of colonial money. In a program tailored for teens and adults, Dr. Thies will discuss the introduction of paper money in the American colonies, beginning in Massachusetts in 1690, and continuing through the Revolution.

"The use of paper money in the American colonies was one of the world's first resorts to inflationary finance," said Dr. Thies. "Among other things, the period was marked by a series of repudiations and monetary reforms, the world's first use of indexation, and attempts by Parliament to restrain the issue of paper money by the colonies."

The Fifes and Drums of the Old Barracks will also participate in the day's festivities decked out in full Revolutionary War dress. Formed in January 2004, the group recruited members from high schools in Trenton, Hamilton Township, Ewing, and Bucks County. Among the events they have participated in are Philadelphia's Fourth of July Parade, and the Branchburg County Fair.

In keeping with the Princeton Battlefield's theme, which celebrates both Princeton's history and Halloween, Princeton author Margery Cuyler will be reading from two of her children's books, the recently-published The Bumpy Little Pumpkin, and The Battlefield Ghost, a story based on the Battle of Princeton. Copies of both books will be available for purchase and signing. (For more information on Ms. Cuyler and her books, see this week's books section).

Founded in 1970, the Princeton Battlefield Society is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote, interpret, conserve, and protect the park by increasing public awareness of the events which occurred there, and the Battle of Princeton's significance during the American Revolution.

The society is asking for a $3 donation for adults and $1 donation for children for the festival. Proceeds will help with improvements to the park, which include painting the Clark House, putting in a kitchen garden, and improving the apple orchard.

To find out how to volunteer for this or other events at the battlefield, e-mail events@SavePrincetonBattlefield.org. For more information about the Princeton Battlefield Society, or to find out how to become a member or sponsor, visit www.SavePrincetonBattlefield.org.



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