The grand state of Georgia celebrates its 283rd birthday this year. The first colonists landed at Yamacraw Bluff on Feb. 12, 1733, (or Feb. 1, by some accounts) after Gen. James Oglethorpe took an expedition up the Savannah River from Port Royal, receiving permission from Creek leader Tomochichi.
Patricia Meagher, director of communications for the Georgia Historical Society, said the Georgia History Festival’s Colonial Faire & Muster on Feb. 6-7 is one of the most anticipated events each year.
Wormsloe is a wonderful place to visit any time of year, Meagher said, but this two-day event is special because everywhere you go on the estate, there will be something to see. Best of all, it’s free and fun for the whole family.
The activities commence with Oglethorpe’s arrival and official welcoming of guests.
“There will be cannon and musket firings, music and dancing, too,” she added.
Historical reenactments include a wide variety of activities for attendees to watch and participate of how people lived and during the earliest days of the colony.
“As you make your way around the estate, you’ll see demonstrations for everything from how to operate a forge for iron work to cooking and life in a colonial military encampment,” Meagher said. “You’ll learn about the day-to-day life of colonists and Native Americans during the earliest days of the Georgia colony, and even see an exhibition of cricket, the favorite game of colonial Georgia, all while taking in the beauty of Wormsloe State Historic Site.”
Meagher said preservation of historical Wormsloe and Fort Pulaski are important. With each passing generation, some of the historical value is lost, but events such as the Colonial Faire & Muster bring colonial periods back to life in a way that lectures do not.
“You can listen to someone talk about life in a military encampment and learn, but until you see the woolen uniforms and smell the gunpowder, you can’t imagine the day-to-day aspects of what it was like, especially during a hot Georgia summer where there was nowhere to escape from the heat and the gnats,” she said.
Colonialists adopted the motto “Non Sibi Sed Aliis,” which means “Not for self, but for others.” When they came to Savannah, they had to create a new way of life by clearing the land, building homes, hunting and farming.
“They did it so successfully that Savannah stands today as Georgia’s founding city, with many of the same streets and squares that Gen. Oglethorpe laid out in 1733,” Meagher said.
The Colonial Faire & Muster is one of four “Founding City” events of the 2016 Georgia History Festival.
“We hope that everyone will also take advantage of Super Museum Sunday on Feb. 7, when over 60 historic sites, house museums and art museums open free of charge for one day only,” she said.
The annual Georgia Day Parade happens Feb. 17, when thousands of children in colonial costumes will march down Bull Street from Forsyth Park to City Hall celebrating Georgia’s birthday.
“Our signature event, the Trustees Gala, is when Gov. Nathan Deal will induct as the newest Georgia Trustees: Muhtar Kent, chairman of the board and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, and James H. “Jimmy” Blanchard, retired chairman of the board and CEO of Synovus,” she said.