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Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-8131
Contact: Brian Reedy, 724-329-5470
Contact: Kitty Seifert, 724-725-9190
POINT MARION, Pa. - FestiFall 2009 will highlight the contributions of Albert Gallatin and other citizens to the democratic ideals of our republic. Throughout the weekend, the National Park Service will present sneak peek previews of the new Ken Burns documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” in a special tent set up on the grounds. The 45 minute screenings will be shown at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. on both days of the festival.
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” introduces men and women who had the passion and vision to create our national parks in the 19th century. This exiting new film airs on public television on September 27 and continues for six consecutive nights. The series explores the stories of people, from every conceivable background, that were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they love. A companion video, featuring the five National Parks in western Pennsylvania, and highlighting the involvement of area citizens in creating these parks, will also be screened at FestiFall.
FestiFall is held at Friendship Hill National Historic Site, the home of Albert Gallatin. While Gallatin predated the National Park Service idea and is best known for his years of service as Secretary of the Treasury, his many contributions to his adopted nation exemplify the same ideals of democracy. Gallatin founded the American Ethnological Society in 1842 as a vehicle to help preserve Indian languages and culture that were rapidly disappearing. He was also a founder of New York University. The annual event is designed to celebrate his role in helping preserve our early democracy. Be sure to view the short video presentation of Gallatin’s impact on our nation shown in the Visitor Center inside the Gallatin House.
The event includes demonstrations of the eighteenth century home skills and crafts and many of these products, including popular historic foods, will be available for visitors.
Plan to eat lunch under the trees on the lawn outside the Mansion. Historic food will be offered by the Friendship Hill Association members. Ham and Bean soup, pulled beef sandwiches, lemonade, root beer, cider, corn bread and fresh baked bread will be available for purchase as well as sugar and molasses cookies.
“The market fair this year features more historic craft demonstrators. Quilters, coopers, pewter casters, soap makers, leather workers, seamstress, furniture maker, rug braiders, potters and many more will showcase their talents,” said Toni L’Hommedieu, President of the Friendship Hill Association, the sponsor of the event. New Geneva Pottery will attend the event for the first time. Period music is also a part of the celebration every year.
Presenters dressed in traditional clothing will explain the history and lifeways of native people through demonstrations and involvement. Ghost in the Head, of Huron descent, exhibits an interactive public display of native materials and crafts. Visitors can learn about native games by participating in those led by Shining Spirit, who is of Cherokee ancestry. Two Feather (Dr. Kinorea Tigri), also of Cherokee descent, will cook and discuss traditional gardens and foods.
“Gallatin was so interested in the Native American culture” said MaryEllen Snyder, the Chief of Visitor Services at Friendship Hill National Historic Site. “Our hope is people will enjoy themselves and gain an understanding of his contributions to the nation, and of the contributions of the native people that he studied during his retirement years.
Re-enactors portraying late 18th century military life will also be on hand. At 12:30, 2:30 and 4:00 each day, rangers will present “Albert Gallatin: Citizen Soldier of the Revolution.” The program will detail Gallatin's role in the War of Independence and demonstrate the material culture of the American Revolutionary army. A demonstration of historic firearms will follow the talk. Gallatin’s involvement in the revolution, though brief, was an early chapter of Gallatin's fifty years of public service.
Admission to the event remains free. Shuttle service from the parking area to the knoll is provided for those needing assistance. The Gallatin house is handicap accessible with restrooms.
The Friendship Hill Association is a non-profit group whose mission is to support the National Park Service at Friendship Hill National Historic Site. They are sponsoring the event in cooperation with The National Park Service. If you are interested in joining the dedicated citizens of Friendship Hill Association who work to protect this treasured place, Toni L’Hommedieu will welcome your call! She can give you information of the type of help needed. Please call Toni at 724-569-4403 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. A membership table will available at FestiFall for the Friendship Hill Association, and for the friends groups of the other four National Parks in western Pennsylvania.
Friendship Hill National Historic Site is located on Rt. 166 between Point Marion, PA and New Geneva, PA. For further information contact the National Park Service at (724) 725-9190.