Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reenactors, Story Tellers, and Dancers--Oh My!

Given Clermont's direct ties to the American Revolution, Independence Day is a big deal around here. On Sunday and Monday, July 4th and 5th, you can find a little something for everybody at Clermont State Historic Site’s Old-Fashioned Independence Day two-day event. On Sunday, reenactors in 18th century costume, firing demonstrations, live music, kids’ entertainment, hot food, and more make Clermont a step back in time from 1:00-7:00pm. On Monday evening come right at 8:00pm for a relaxed family concert on the lawn while you wait for a view of the Saugerties fireworks after dark. Tickets are just $8 per car on Sunday and $10 per car on Monday.

On Sunday, the Old-Fashioned Independence Day will kick off at 1:00pm with an 18th century firing demonstration. The English army was widely regarded as one of the best and most disciplined in the world. We've invited the 16th Light Dragoons to demonstrate their techniques alongside the 1st Ulster County Militia so you can see the difference. Later on the two groups will present both sides of the story of the American Revolution in a series of skits, finally erupting into gunfire at 4:00.

At 2:00pm, Headless Horsemen Fife and Drum Corps will liven up the grounds (and they usually get the kids marching roo). At 3:00pm children can compete in Cherry Pit Spitting contests, a Three-Legged Race, and the hilarious Grinning for Cheese Challenge. And at 4:30pm enjoy the lively historic songs and stories by veteran children’s entertainer Tom Hanford. For the grand finale, you can get your English Country Dance lessons from musical group Salmagundi and then join in an old-fashioned ball from 5:30-7:00pm.

Throughout the day on Sunday, visitors can also play with historic toys and learn 18th century card games: Whist and Go Fish (I never realized how much more fun Go Fish is with four players!). Delicious gourmet and family-friendly food will be available from Spacey Tracy. Stewart's Shops has donated ice cream (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and fireworks), which we will be distributing free while it lasts.

Be sure to get on one on the special tours of the mansion. From 1:00-5:00pm Clermont will bring to life the Livingstons who survived the tumult of the Revolution in Hudson Valley with costumed actors portraying Livingston characters. You can even talk to them and ask questions as you wander the house at your own pace in an Open House style visit. ($5 for adults, $4 for seniors/students, children 12 and under are free.)

On Monday from 8:00-10:00pm, the Providers, a classic rock and soul band, will give a concert on the lawn, keeping your whole family entertained well into the night. Dancing and picnicking are encouraged or sample more goodies from Spacey Tracy’s delicious menu while you wait for a view of the Saugerties fireworks. To see the fireworks, I encourage you to come early as the park will close its gates when capacity is reached. The price for entry is $10 per vehicle.

This event is one of best chances Clermont offers to sample 18th century life and one of the best places for families with young children to watch the fireworks (plenty of open space and a little less "boom!" becauce of the distance). For my part, I am particularly looking forward to the ball, since I am a big dancing fool!


  1. This sounds awesome! I hope to make it back from vacation in time to get to one of the two days~ At least for fireworks viewing!

  2. That's a load of crap... Lol.