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YORKTOWN, Va., September 27, 2011 – To mark the 230th anniversary of America’s decisive Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown, a variety of engaging hands-on military and maritime interpretive programs and tours will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 15-16, at Yorktown Battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center and Riverwalk Landing.


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Yorktown Victory Center artillery demonstration. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo.

The weekend events are a prelude to the Yorktown Day parade and  commemorative ceremony on Wednesday, October 19, in historic Yorktown and at Yorktown Battlefield to mark the official anniversary of the British surrender to American forces.

In 1781, following a nine-day bombardment, British forces in Yorktown under General Charles Cornwallis requested a cease-fire and then surrendered more than 8,000 soldiers and sailors to the combined American and French armies commanded by General George Washington.  This was the last major military action of the American Revolution, effectively securing independence for the American colonies following a six-and-a-half-year military struggle. 

Revolutionary War Interpretive Programs at the Yorktown Victory Center – October 15-16
The Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, will feature military re-enactors, musket and artillery demonstrations, and hands-on interpretive programs at re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm during its annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration,” Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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The 7th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line is among the Revolutionary War re-enactor units at the weekend event. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo.

Approximately 60 Revolutionary War re-enactors depicting American and British troops will demonstrate military life and tactics throughout the weekend event. Units scheduled to participate include the 7th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line, James City County Militia, Redstone Rangers Militia, His Majesty’s 64th Regiment of Foot, His Majesty’s 14th Regiment of Foot, Hessian Regiment von Huyn, the American Detached Hospital and British Detached Hospital. In addition, sutlers Fort Vause Outfitters and Mountain Forge will be on hand to sell a variety of 18th-century reproductions.

Visitors to the Continental Army encampment will be invited to experience Revolutionary War military life firsthand by enrolling in “A School for the Soldier, offering opportunities to drill with wooden muskets and apply tactical skills in mock combat, as well as learn about soldiers’ provisions and sleeping quarters.  The program also explores methods of troop communication, espionage during the war and the importance of earthworks during a siege.  “School” sessions will be offered at 10:05 a.m. and 12:35 and 3:35 p.m. on both days. Visitor participatory artillery demonstrations will be held at 11:05 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. each day. 


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Spinning at the Yorktown Victory Center’s 1780s farm. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo.

Daily at the re-created 1780s farm, visitors can see spinning and textile demonstrations at 10:35 a.m. and learn about the transition from farmer to soldier as they train as a member of the citizen militia at 2:05 p.m.  Farm visitors also can observe methods of open-hearth cooking at 12:05 p.m. and play 18th-century games at 4:15 p.m. each day.

Author Robert Pelton will sign copies of colonial cookbooks and holiday recipes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, in the Yorktown Victory Center museum store.

Yorktown Victory Center gallery exhibits feature a rare July 1776 broadside printing of America’s Declaration of Independence, provide eyewitness accounts of the American Revolution, describe the convergence of forces on Yorktown in 1781 for the climactic military engagement of the Revolution, and examine the development of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and how people from many different cultures shaped a new society.

The event is included with Yorktown Victory Center admission of $9.50 for adults and $5.25 for youth ages 6 through 12. Children under six are admitted free. Save 20 percent with a combination ticket to Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. Various package and ticket options are available online with Yorktown and Williamsburg area attractions, including a History, Shopping and Fun! vacation package starting at $199 for two nights’ lodging and three days of unlimited admission for two adults to Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center. The package, available at https://jyfmuseums.org/Vacation-Packages.htm, includes coupon booklets for Williamsburg Premium Outlets and a Historic Yorktown Rewards Card.

The Yorktown Victory Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is located on Route 1020 near the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. The event is funded in part by a leadership grant from Dominion Resources with additional support from the York County Arts Commission. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit hif.ciniva.net/yorktown-victory-celebration.htm.

Anniversary Programs at Yorktown Battlefield – October 15-16
The Yorktown Battlefield, scene of the surrender concluding the climactic battle of the American Revolution, will offer a variety of special programs, tours and military demonstrations to mark the 230th anniversary of the British surrender at Yorktown.  These special activities will highlight the 1781 siege of Yorktown and provide a look at the victory by General George Washington that secured American independence.

On Saturday, October 15, a volunteer reenacting unit will depict the British Royal Artillery.  Programs include live firings of a replica British cannon, similar to some of the field artillery used at Yorktown in 1781.  The demonstrations will take place near the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center at 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.

On Sunday, October 16, Park Rangers will offer a variety of interpretive programs about the momentous events of 1781, including walking tours of Redoubts 9 & 10, town tours of the village of Yorktown, and non-firing artillery talks.  Call (757) 898-2410 for more information.

These programs begin at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, located at 1000 Colonial Parkway at the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway, 12 miles from Williamsburg.  On Wednesday, October 19, admission to Yorktown Battlefield will be free as part of the Yorktown Day celebration.  Admission on Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16, is $10.00 per adult, under age 16 admitted free, which also includes admission to Historic Jamestowne.  National Park Service passports are honored.  For more information, call (757) 898-2410 or visit www.nps.gov/colo.


Maritime Activities, Public Programs at Riverwalk Landing – October 14-16, October 19
Jamestown Settlement’s Godspeed, a re-creation of one of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607, will be docked at Riverwalk Landing on October 14-19 in conjunction with the Yorktown commemorative events. The Godspeed will host free public tours at 2-6 p.m. Friday, October 14; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, October 15; 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday, October 16; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, October 19, Yorktown Day.

Schooners Alliance and Serenity are docked at the Riverwalk Landing piers seasonally and are available for daily private charters and pirate tours through October. For details and schedule, call (757) 639-1233.

At 12:30 p.m. Sunday, October 16, a re-enactment of the “York Town, Virginia, Tea Party, 1774” will take place at Riverwalk Landing stage. The event features a portrayal of Thomas Nelson, Jr., performances by the York River Symphony Orchestra Ensemble and The Fifes and Drums of York Town. Free.  For information, call (757) 898-1936.


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The Yorktown Day Parade will feature the York Town Fife & Drums. York County Tourism photo.

Yorktown Day Commemorative Events – October 19
Every year since the British surrender, there have been patriotic observances held in Yorktown on the anniversary of the surrender.  The modern day observance traces its roots to 1922, when the Daughters of the American Revolution began an annual wreath-laying ceremony, which set the tradition upon which the current Yorktown Day is based.  Today, the Yorktown Day Association, comprised of 13 civic, patriotic and government organizations, coordinates the traditional commemorative events.


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Patriotic Exercises at the Yorktown Victory Monument on October 19. National Park Service photo.

In addition to morning wreath-laying ceremonies, the official Yorktown Day Parade steps off at 10:30 a.m.  The route will follow Yorktown’s Main Street and pass in front of the Yorktown Victory Monument, erected in 1881 to commemorate the military victory a century before.  Included in the 35 parade units are representatives of all branches of the U.S. military, fife and drum corps, JROTC and NJROTC units, and patriotic organizations.

Patriotic Exercises will commence at the Yorktown Victory Monument at 11:15 a.m. with the annual pageant of flags, a colorful display that includes the American and French national colors, the flags of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the flags of the 13 Yorktown Day Association members.  At the conclusion of the Patriotic Exercises, a wreath will be placed on the Yorktown Victory Monument in memory of those who fought and died during the siege of Yorktown in 1781.

At 11:30 a.m., the annual Yorktown Women’s Club Brunswick stew lunch will be held at Grace Episcopal Church.


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The Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps will perform October 19 on the Yorktown Battlefield. National Park Service photo.

At 12:30 p.m., The Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps and Commander-in-Chief’s Guard will perform on the Yorktown Battlefield near the  National Park Service Visitor Center.  A unit of the 3rd U. S. Infantry, The Old Guard is the oldest infantry unit in the active Army, predating the Constitution of the United States to 1784.  As a unit of the Military District of Washington, the 3rd U.S. Infantry is charged with the unique mission of serving as the U.S. Army’s official ceremonial unit, performing tactical infantry missions and providing security for the nation’s capital.