Community members gathered Saturday at Grace Bible Church in Phoenixville for its annual Presidents’ Day celebration. Live music, historical stories, skits and Presidential themed food dishes were all part of the fun.
Church member Dottie Adams first began the event in her home near Valley Forge Park to commemorate the day several years ago. A bus driver for area schools, Adams said she thought it was important to teach children about what the day means. Eventually, the celebration outgrew her home so it was moved to her church.
“About 12 years ago was my first one at home; a Presidents’ Day party,” said Adams. “I live above Washington’s Headquarters in Valley Forge. Not many people study history much any more and I thought [for] some of my grandchildren and some of my kids in the neighborhood, we had trivia questions and door prizes.”
Adams said each year she picks a theme for the event and this year for the celebration, she wanted to focus on the four assassinated presidents – Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy – as a nod, in part, to the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. Interesting stories and fun facts were told about each of the four presidents and the food dishes were all chosen to represent each president.
“The cherry pie is for George Washington because today is his 282nd birthday today, and he is the father of our country and our first president, so I thought we had to give him an honorable mention,” said Adams.
Adams said it’s a good event for area residents because it helps to educate the youth. “…To celebrate our heritage and let the kids know, who sadly don’t. I put a booklet together for all the participants so they can remember what they did.”
Many of the participants were children, who performed skits about the presidents, told fun facts and performed presidential themed music, such as singing the song “Dixie.”
Jo Ellen Hippenstiel, a friend of Adams’ and also a local school bus driver, said the event is all due to Adams’ love for children.
“She has an avid love for children and she is concerned about kids understanding the history and heritage of the country who made us each what we are,” said Hippenstiel. “Some of the history they teach in school doesn’t really [make an impact] because they’re going fast, because they have to. This is kind of an added bit of history about the presidents in the presidents’ month to help the kids keep awareness.”