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Contact: Stephanie Loeb, 610-783-1013
VALLEY FORGE, PA –Tired and worn after a crushing loss at Brandywine in the fall of 1777, General George Washington desperately needed to secure winter quarters for his tattered troops. The General chose Valley Forge, and marched his 12,000-member army in on December 19, 1777.
Two hundred and thirty-seven years later, on Friday, December 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Valley Forge National Historical Park will commemorate the army's arrival and their determination to persevere against overwhelming hardship and the difficult conditions they experienced during their six-month encampment.
Activities take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in and around the Visitor Center and at the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts:
Throughout the evening, enjoy presentations by the Colonial Revelers and General Washington, as portrayed by Dean Malissa. Join in with familiar carols, traditional colonial dancing, and learn about the trials and tribulations of our nation's war for independence as of December 1777. Presentations from each group will alternate every fifteen minutes. Watch a historic chocolate making demonstration and sample an 18th century hot chocolate recipe featuring American Heritage Chocolate. The Encampment Store will be open for holiday shopping.
Musical performances every half hour from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. by the Freedom High School Fife and Drum Corps under the new student pavilion outside of the Visitor Center. The Corps, from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is led by Head Fifer, Jordana Schaeffer, and band directors Mike Moran and Andrew Lynn.
Candle-lit ranger-led walks depart approximately every 20 minutes. Travel with a Continental Soldier 1/4 mile along the lantern-lined Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, which will be patrolled by Washington's Guards, to the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts. The first walk of the evening will be led by the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard and members of the Freedom High School Fife and Drum Corps. The last walk of the evening departs at 7:45 p.m.
Muhlenberg Brigade Hut Area
At the brigade site, each of the five replica huts focuses on a different encampment theme including: hut construction, life in the army for soldiers and family members who accompanied as camp followers, and the impact the army had on civilian life during the encampment. Children are welcome to play with 18th century games at the activity station, also along the company street. Warm up around the campfire and hear stories from continental soldiers about the first three years of the American Revolution. Take a walk beyond the company street and visit the redoubt, an earthen fortification built by the army to help protect the encampment against a possible British attack.
Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of George Washington's Continental Army. The park commemorates the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation and honors the ability of citizens to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times. For more information about the park, please visit our website at nps.gov/vafo or call 610-783-1099. Follow Valley Forge on social media: Facebook.com/ValleyForgeNHP, Twitter @ValleyForgeNHP, and Instagram @ValleyForgePark and share your photos and experiences.