LORD STIRLING 1770s FESTIVAL
Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center
190 Lord Stirling Road, Basking Ridge, NJ
Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 10:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Step back in time to the colonial period at the Somerset County Park Commission's annual Lord Stirling 1770s Festival taking place on Sunday, October 7, 2012 from 10:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
Each year on the first Sunday in October, Lord Stirling's estate at Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge, NJ comes back to life in the late 1700s. This year, Lord Stirling will be spending the day at his estate. Ask him about his many business ventures or his successes in battle against the British. Join him as he reviews his troops and visits with local craftspeople on his estate.
The event promotes historical and environmental education highlighting the unsung Revolutionary War hero William Alexander, Lord Stirling, who lived on the site and served under General George Washington. Attired in replicas of 1770s clothing true to the period, meet a blacksmith, tinsmith, furniture maker, cooper, and other trades people of the times. Crafters make toys, lace, decorative arts, woodcarvings, and spin wool into yarn. Colonial women will demonstrate how butter was made and how simple household chores were done without the help of electricity and modern appliances. No crafts are sold at this entertaining and educational event.
Children can try stenciling, quill writing, making clay pots, and playing colonial games or pet sheep, goats, and chickens that were staples of colonial life in the 1770s. Drink a cup of cider and see how cider was made from a working cider press. Hop aboard the hay wagon for a ride around Lord Stirling's apple orchard. Dress the part by trying on period style clothing or spend a few minutes in the Somerset Gaoler's wooden pillory while friends and family take photographs.
The event provides an educational and enjoyable way to learn about colonial times and the importance of New Jersey's role in the American Revolution. Visitors can question craftspeople about their trades, tour Lord Stirling's wine cellar, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and aromas of a colonial style autumn festival. Listen to colonial ballads played on instruments of the period. Visit the camps of Heard's Brigade, Captain John Outwater's Militia, Past Muster, and the Donegal Riflemen. Watch as the militias conduct maneuvers and children can participate in a musket drill. Meet a colonial surgeon who supported the troops. A professional Town Crier announces the events of the day and reads the Declaration of Independence.
Lord Stirling (the Scottish earldom and title acquired by William Alexander of Basking Ridge) was close friends with George Washington and served as a Major General directly under his command during the Revolution. Stirling built his manor house around 1762 and lived there for 20 years. An archeological team sponsored by the Somerset County Park Commission excavated part of the site and has studied the recovered artifacts. See what they have found on the site and hear about the history associated with these artifacts. Part of the original Stirling manor house foundation still exists under the house now occupying the site and the cellar is open to the public for tours for the day.
Suggested donation is $4 per person. The 1770s Festival will be held rain or shine.
For more information about the 1770s Festival call the Environmental Education Center at 908-766-2489 or for Relay Service dial 711 for individuals with hearing impairments. Information on this event and other Somerset County Park Commission activities may be found on the Somerset County Park Commission website at www.somersetcountyparks.org.