By John Chambless
The centuries will melt away this weekend when the year 1777 returns to Birmingham Township.
The Battle of the Brandywine re-enactment is packed with two full days of activities. It's not held at the Brandywine Battlefield Park in Chadds Ford, but on the grounds of Sandy Hollow Park, off of Birmingham Road near Dilworthtown, where most of the actual fighting took place in 1777.
There will be hundreds of costumed re-enactors representing both British and American troops of the Revolutionary War. On Saturday and Sunday, they will hold mock battles lasting about 45 minutes. Visitors can walk through the military camps and talk to the re-enactors about their daily lives, and listen as generals discuss their battle plans. Camp followers will be cooking and doing daily chores in the camps. Crafters will be selling colonial crafts and other items that might have been seen in the 1700s, and artisans will be posing as "sutlers," who created the necessities for military life of the era.
Children can take part in marching drills and learn colonial games, and there will be authors who
have written about the Revolution at the site, including Gene Pisasale, who will deliver the opening remarks on May 17 at 10:30 a.m. Pisasale will also lecture on "Washington, Lafayette and the Friendship That Saved the Revolution" on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Reginoal artists will have their easels set up both days at the site and will be painting and drawing the action from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Artwork that's finished on Saturday will be on view and for sale at the VIP event slated Saturday night, as well as on Sunday.
Admission to the weekend is free, and visitors can bring their own seating to watch the battles. On Saturday, the battle will be at 2:30 p.m., and on Sunday, the battle is at 1:30 p.m.
On Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., the Freedom Bivouac Revel is a benefit for sponsors and the event committee, but the public is welcome (tickets $50). Re-enactors will mingle with visitors, there will be tours of both Continental and British camps, authentic music, and period food and drink, including beer and wine from local businesses.
As a sidelight, the historic Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse is near Sandy Hollow, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with special programs from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Friends (Quakers) are pacifists who do not participate in war, and they will have a booth at the re-enactment to share their beliefs. Everyone is welcome to their worship service on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Hours for the weekend are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information and a detailed schedule of events, visit www.brandywine2014.com.