State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, will read the Declaration of Independence from the back porch at Thomas Jefferson’s summer retreat in Poplar Forest on Wednesday.
Here’s what the folks at Poplar Forest tell us:
Senator Bill Stanley, member of the Senate of Virginia from the 20th District, will be the guest of honor at the annual Independence Day Celebration at Thomas Jefferson’s retreat, Poplar Forest. He will be doing the reading of the Declaration of Independence from Mr. Jefferson’s back porch.
The festivities throughout the grounds at Poplar Forest will take place Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. At 1:30 everyone will gather on the lawn for the official ceremony which includes patriotic music, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and the Declaration reading followed by the roll call of the names of the signers of the Declaration.
Poplar Forest’s grounds will be filled with Jefferson-era fun for every age, plus food vendors offering picnic fare. Children can experience 18th century life first-hand by doing militia drills with costumed military interpreters, writing with a quill pen, and playing games like stick horse races, rolling hoops, bowling, ball-and-cup, and tug of war. Plus, there will be pony rides and face-painting.
Featured on the grounds will be:
• A display of courage (and comedy) by Otto the Sword Swallower;
• Signora Bella’s always popular comedic balancing acts, juggling, and slack-rope walking as she demonstrates the art of the 19th century Italian street performer;
• A magic show and hilarious routines by colonial conjurer Levram the Great, with his special guest, Rupert the Dove;
• Musical favorites from the Jefferson era courtesy of Riddle on the Harp and The McKenzies;
• Patriotic music by High Cotton Barbershop Quartet;
• A costumed story teller presenting African folk tales;
• Costumed craftspeople demonstrating Jefferson-era crafts—including a potter shaping his wares on a potter’s wheel, traditional blacksmithing, a silversmith, lace-making, spinning, and soap-making;
• A Native American craft demonstration;
• A hand-crafted reproduction of the kind of batteau that took Jefferson’s crops to market via the James River.
Visitors can discover the medical treatments and practices used in Jefferson’s Virginia from a costumed interpreter portraying an 18th century “physick” and dentist; visit Jefferson’s kitchen to learn from hearth-cooking interpreters about the cooking methods used in Jefferson’s very modern kitchen; see the archaeological excavations in progress at Poplar Forest, and try their hand at the archaeological technique of cross-mending.
Admission for the 2012 Poplar Forest Fourth of July Celebration is $8 for adults; children under 15 are free. There is a special charge for face-painting. Tours of Jefferson’s retreat house will also be available for a reduced rate and offered at scheduled times throughout the day.
Sponsors for this event are The Trust Company of Virginia, Taco Bell, Progress Printing, Recycle Easy, The News and Advance and Blue Ridge PBS.
It was here at Poplar Forest that Jefferson blended architecture and breathtaking landscaping to create a villa where he and his family could escape the demands of public life. Today it is a place where visitors can escape a wired world and celebrate Independence Day by going back to Jefferson’s time.