Just in time for Presidents Day, two Pennsylvania national parks, Valley Forge in King of Prussia and Hopewell Furnace in Elverson, will hold several celebrations in honor of George Washington’s 282nd birthday.
Dona McDermott, the park’s archivist, will discuss the first president on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. The presentation will be held at the park’s conference center and McDermott will use the famous “Landsdowne Portrait” to explain how Gilbert Stuart used symbols to reflect Washington’s legacy. The Friends of Hopewell Furnace are sponsoring the free program.
Valley Forge National Park will host Presidents Day celebrations the following weekend. More than 2,000 Boy Scouts of America members will participate in the 102nd Annual Pilgrimage and Encampment on Saturday, Feb. 15. The scouts will camp at Valley Forge overnight, hike in the park, and learn the significance of the park’s history. The event’s honored figure for this year is Captain Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee.
On Sunday, Feb. 16, a local living history re-enactment group, The Second Pennsylvania Regiment, will gather at the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts. The group will interpret camp life including artillery demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. There will also be a ranger talk at 2 p.m. in the education center. The talk will examine why Congress chose Washington as the Continental Army’s commander-in-chief.
On Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 17, the park will host a birthday party for Washington beginning at 10 a.m. in the visitor’s center. The celebration will include several activities for children including meeting General and Mrs. Washington.
The Culinary Art Institute of Montgomery County Community College will present Washington with a birthday cake at noon and provide the public with cupcakes. After cake, children can participate in the “Join the Continental Army” program where they will march like soldiers to the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts.
For more information about Valley Forge National Historic Park, visit wwww.nps.gov/vafo or call 610-783-1099.
For more information about Hopewell Furnace National Historic Park, visit www.nps.gov/hofu or call 610-582-8773.