The first time I ever went to Williamsburg, VA was at the age of 20. It was a band trip with the Union City Elks Fife and Drum Corp. that I belonged to. It was a competition and muster with mostly colonial and other bands from around the nation. In addition to the competition, it was also a celebration of our country’s 200 year anniversary.
The first day we got there, we participated in a parade down the Duke of Gloucester Street ending up on the grounds of the Armory where we had to stand at attention and be judged. I remember it being so hot and seeing several people passing out in the heat. Our instructor and band parents kept coming around giving us water to stay hydrated and make sure we were okay.
There was a particular band that did something that I thought was quite entertaining and a lot of fun. As we all stood around watching everyone playing their songs after the competition was completed, someone in the crowd shouted something. (I don’t remember what) and a group dressed in civil war uniforms came running out of the crowd from different directions and gathered in the center of the crown and began playing the music from the old TV show F Troop. It was really fun and exciting to watch.
After the competition and parades were over, we were allowed to explore the sites. We did a tour of the Governor’s Palace, which was very impressive. They even took us down to the kitchen and showed us how the food was prepared and brought to the main hall for the many extravagant dances, parties, and celebrations that were held at the palace. It was very interesting.
We explored all the historical buildings and participated with the interpreters as they told the story of the person they were portraying. It truly felt like we were back in the 18th century. I learned a lot on that trip and it really put me on the path of enjoying history as I had never done in school.
At the end of our weekend trip, we were taken to the banks of the Potomac River opposite the Lincoln (or Jefferson) memorial (Can’t remember which) where they had a wonderful show with movies of historical events and a laser light show, complete with colonial-era music and we even got to see the Old Guard. This is the group that was started as Marines back in the days of George Washington and today is still active, especially in National Ceremonies. They are the official guard to the president and partake in many activities around the country dressed in period costume of the revolutionary wartime. They are very precision-oriented and play authentic fife and drum music that was played during the Revolutionary Era. They are truly a joy to watch.
This trip had made me into a history buff.