On Saturday, March 25, we celebrated the 281st anniversary of the founding of Fort Frederica with a Colonial Day Celebration. Tom and I participated in the Colonial Day by being part of the living history team demonstrating and interacting with folks.
Tom was part of the Heron Company in Oglethorpe’s 42nd Regiment of Foot. Six people dressed in the madder red and canary green coats of the British soldiers. Two are on the staff here at Frederica and the rest are volunteers. They fired a cannon and gave musket firing demonstrations.
A team of Spanish soldiers from Castillo de San Marcos came and set up camp near the Fort. Normally, the British would have been alarmed by the Spanish invasion, but these Spanish assured us they came on friendly terms. The Spanish company also fired muskets and the canon. They were faster at it than the British company, but I think they had more practice.
I was one of the townspeople, practicing my trade. I was the candle maker, or chandler, and showed people my tallow and beeswax candles, dipped and made in the candle mold. Over the course of the three months here at Frederica, my candle making has improved. I can now get candles out of the mold without melting the entire candle!
When I have my candle making stuff out, I melt a small kettle of beeswax and let kids (of all ages) dip their own candles. They dip the wick in the beeswax, then dip it in a bucket of water to harden it quickly. Then they dip it in the beeswax and the water again. They continue doing this until there are people waiting in line or the candle is getting too big for the kettle. Because they do this quickly, the candles often come out a little funny shaped. But the kids are generally very proud of making their own candle.
We had other people demonstrating skills. One woman was spinning, another knitting. A Scottish Highlander was demonstrating dyeing material. We had a leather worker here. Randy and Nell, two other RV volunteers, demonstrated tabby making and uses for Spanish moss. The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution displayed some historic artifacts.
Jim Sawgrass, a Native American living historian, portrayed Chief Tomachichi. He had an extensive set up and was very popular. He loved the palmetto hut that Tom and Randy built.
The weather was perfect for our Colonial Day. About 600 people came and enjoyed the special event. We were just across the river from the Brunswick Air Show, so we saw some planes flying over. The highlight of the day was the Blue Angels doing a fly by in formation at the moment when both the British and Spanish soldiers were firing their canons. One of the soldiers said, “I think we are going to need a bigger canon!”