Thursday, July 11, 2024

Independence Day Celebrations: Greenfield Village, Mill Race Village, and in my Hometown

I enjoy so very much the celebrating of the 4th of July holiday.  I commemorated this most American of holidays in a special way,  and today's post is a sort of diary - a journal - to memorialize our time.
This is the third year my wife & I have had
such a picture taken of us.
It kind of epitomizes the holiday, 
don't you think?
Our celebration of America 2024 began for us at Salute To America at Greenfield Village.
I believe this was the 30th anniversary for this event.  I,  for one,  was so glad to see all of the patriotism! 
And,  as you see in the photo to the left,  my wife and I took a different approach in our patriotic attire.  Dressing in this manner for the Salute to America has become a tradition of ours,  though there can be some extra heat due to the higher temperatures and especially the humidity.  
Oh yeah,  we were hot in them clothes!   
Yet my wife and I had many - seriouslymany - people thank us,  take pictures of and with us,  and compliment us.  One guy said  (paraphrasing here),  "You are America!"  Not one snarky comment in the bunch.  
Not a one.
Just lots of smiles,  thumbs up,  and  "hellos."
Patty & I very much enjoyed ourselves on the night we attended - July 3 - with  (most)  of our kids and all of our grandkids.  Aside from the lack of the founding generation,  there was still a lot to do and see,  for,  though none of the historic houses were open,  their history emanated from the exteriors themselves.  In fact,  and appropriately,  we set up our blankets in front of the Logan County Courthouse,  where,  in the 1840s and 1850s,  Abraham Lincoln,  before he was president,  once practiced law as a circuit-riding lawyer inside.  
My wife & I in front of the Logan County Courthouse.
So,  we're not dressed appropriate for 1840 when it was built in Illinois. 
The architectural style hearkens back to an even earlier time.
Either way,  we are celebrating America and her history!
All around were the homes of the 17th through the 20th centuries,  most from America  (I said most,  not all).
What better way and place to celebrate Independence Day?
America at its finest!
Back in the day,  Greenfield Village used to celebrate small-town America.
This looks like turn-of-the-20th century America,  with the 1854 Heinz House there on the left,  where 
Henry John  (H.J.)  Heinz  (b. 1844),  produced the first of his more than  "57 Varieties"  of ketchup.  And,  directly across the street on the right we have the Wright Cycle Shop,  where,  in 1903,  Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first heavier-than-air flying machine that,  on its own power,  could have a safe lift off the ground and then come down for a safe landing.
America - - -   

And music---American music!
The earliest of the performers were the above mentioned 1st Michigan Colonial Fife & Drum Corps,  playing the sounds of young America  (no,  not Motown!)
The purpose and mission of the 1st Michigan Colonial Fife & Drum Corps is to  "educate about 18th century music and life by performing as a colonial fife and drum corps..." 
"...and to perpetuate through high musical standards,  the tradition of historically
accurate 18th century music,  especially relating to colonial America."

For the next stop along our musical timeline,  how about some old-timey folk-type tunes,  mostly from the 19th century?
Listed as  "Traditional Hammered Dulcimer and Fiddle Music Performed
by Ranka Mulkern and Neil Woodward",  the duet performed this wonderful
music on the front porch of the 1830s Michigan tavern - the Eagle Tavern.
Yes,  done in a very traditional manner - just the way I like it!
Here is a snippet of a performance:

From here we visited Fiddler JJ over at the Henry Ford Birthplace:
I've known JJ for 20 years now,  and this man can play the
old-time fiddle tunes!
Just as if it were 1876!
Meanwhile,  in the front of the Ford home,  a centennial  (1876 - 100 years!)  celebration was taking place with games and food and,  as you just seen,  fiddle music.
This house was built in 1861,  and Henry Ford was born in one of the upstairs bedrooms in July of 1863.

Just down the road,  at the edge of Greenfield Village's  "business district,"  we have the Dodworth Saxhorn Band,  a late 19th century brass band which plays the popular tunes of  "their"  day on authentic period instruments.

Since we are at the turn-of-the-20th century,  let's look at the bikes of that era.  
When my six-year old grandson saw these,  he said,  "Papa,  you should
get a bike like that!"
I said,  "Liam,  why should I get a bike like that?"
And he replied,  "Because you like old stuff!"
Well...he's not

Well,  we're in the 20th century now,  and the times they are a-changing.
No---we're not quite that far into the 20th century,  but we're at the beginning of rock and roll,  without people fully realizing it.  Nope - - not the 1950s either.
How about the 1930s?
Actually,  the traditional blues music that the Reverend Robert Jones plays dates back into the 1920s.  And it is so very authentically cool to hear this music being played in its truest form,  while watching it being played by this 1930s guy sitting on an old 1930s porch.
And the stories Reverend Jones tells about the music.  He takes you on a journey through musical 20th century history,  and how these old blues tunes brought us right up to contemporary music!
Here is a traditional version of Crossroads,  made popular by Eric Clapton and Cream in the late 1960s,  as played right there on that old 1930s front porch by the Reverend Robert Jones:

Though there was no one playing the hits of the 1940s,  there was a 1943 vignette:
My friend,  Meg,  explained the importance of
War Bonds during World War 2

However,  the 1950s were represented:
The Village Cruisers harmonized beautifully.
They do the more poppy side of the 50s,  such as Mr. Sandman and Come Softly To Me.
Beautiful harmonies,  by the way.

There was also a Motown group of singers,  but for some reason I could not get a decent picture of them,  for,  like the 1980s Translator song,  "Everywhere That I'm Not,"  I always seemed to walk up to them as they finished their set.
But the highlight for fans of music and the 4th of July is listening to the DSO - Detroit Symphony Orchestra - perform there on a makeshift stage.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra - real heavy  "metal" - - lolol
The DSO began by performing our National Anthem,  and to see everyone stand with their hand or hat over their heart - including my own grandchildren,  of which I am so very proud - was a wonderful sight indeed.
Okay---I took my hat off my heart for a quick moment to snap this picture - ya got me!
My favorite part  (obviously)  was when they performed Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture,  with actual cannons booming,  and then the bells started ringing from the Scotch Settlement School,  built in 1861 and where Henry Ford went to school in the 1870s.  The bell in the steeple of  the Martha-Mary Chapel began ringing as well - all timed perfectly.  The cool thing is that the chapel bell was cast by none other than Paul Revere’s son,  Joseph Warren Revere,  which adds so much!  I mean...this is the son of Paul Revere!!  
I loved watching our grandkids looking around,  hearing the Symphony orchestra play this great piece of music live,  hearing the real cannons,  and hearing the bells,  then afterward was the spectacular fireworks show - - wow!

...just as John Adams had hoped for... a letter he wrote back in July of 1776! 
And here we see my three oldest grandkids,  in 2024,  enjoying the heck out of it!

And the rockets red glare----

Building memories~~~~~
This was nothing short of fantastic!

On our drive home,  we got to see the Detroit sign all lit up.
I love it!
Greenfield Village,  this event is truly spectacular,  and I thank you for it.  And I thank the people who attend for their patriotism.  It all made for a wonderful evening of being proud to be an American.  I do,  however,  have a couple of suggestions:
why not have a scenario down near Daggett,  Plympton,  and Giddings?  I know,  I know...all three houses are presented as being before the Revolutionary War,  but exceptions can be made for the holiday,  don't you think?  Perhaps speak of what lead up to the colonies declaring Independence - the  "Acts"  of the 1760s.
Also,  the Firestone Farm crew  (1885)  do an amazing Independence Day celebration on the 4th of July itself - why not bring that into the evening,  like the presenters do at the Ford House?
One more thing:   ever since covid,  you've really done nothing to honor our fallen soldiers  (i.e.  Memorial Day).  
This needs to change.  You need to step away from Disney and get back to where you once belong.  You are not an amusement park.  Rather,  you are a showcase of  American history.  Be proud of that.  And show your pride.
Okay - back to the celebrations!

My 4th of July celebrations,  at this point,  were just getting started - showing our American pride:
Off to what many of us now consider the best participatory Independence Day celebration anywhere:  Historic Mill Race Village
Every year,  beginning in 2017,  a few of us have been welcomed with open arms at Historic Mill Race Village  (in Northville,  Michigan)  to help celebrate Independence Day---on the 4th of July itself!  The only 4th of July since that year that I've not been at Mill Race was during the covid year of 2020.  In fact,  there was nothing going on there in 2021 either,  so a few of us went on our own dressed as colonials and,  lo & behold,  there were plenty of strollers moving along the historic park's road where Mill Race sits.
But in 2022 and 2023 we were back with a patriotic fervor,  and so were visitors!
So now it's 2024 - only two years away from America's 250th.
Back with a vengeance!
This is what the visitors saw as they entered from the parking lot.
A street lined with historic flags.

I line the road with my collection of historic American flags.
The visitors very much enjoy them and often will take their photos with their favorite flag.   The Betsy Ross and Gadsden  (Don't Tread On Me)  flags won out.
Here is a list of the ten flags I brought:
The Bedford Flag
The Liberty & Union Flag
The Pine Tree  (Appeal to Heaven)  Flag
The Grand Union Flag
The Massachusetts Minuteman Flag
The Gadsden Flag
The Betsy Ross Flag
The Francis Hopkinson Flag
The Benington  (Spirit of  '76)  Flag
The First Navy Jack Flag

The weather,  like the previous evening at Greenfield Village,  was hot and muggy,  with sun early on.  It was actually supposed to rain,  but it didn't,  of which I am thankful for.  
Hot and muggy = Bleah.  
No rain = 😀
At least for this holiday!
And though not as many participants came out as we had thought or hoped - a couple had ill health,  while others I'm not sure of the reason - we still made this an amazing event like no other in the Metro-Detroit area!
For that I am proud!
Soon the grounds were packed with proud patriots.
And the proudest tended to be the immigrants who recently came to this country...
and some who recently became new citizens.
So let's greet the living historians and reenactors who came out to celebrate:
We didn't do our traditional group shot,  for too many participants had left before I had a chance to pull them all together,  but these two pictures taken by Barb Baldinger & Lynn Anderson,  sort of help to fill in the missing gap. 
Bringing 1776 to life!
A few were missing in these two shots,  but you'll see them in the pics below.

Mark not only portrays an Osage native,  but he is  an Osage native.
I am very appreciate that he comes out and explains his role in the Revolutionary War.

Richard and Mark.

Richard poses with the Francis Hopkinson flag.
Some historians believe it was designed by Congressman Hopkinson 
and sewn by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross.  
Both working somewhat together.
It just very well could be.
Members of the 1st Pennsylvania~
Josh,  Robbie,  and Tony

Horik and Greg

Len Steinberg came out as well!

Greg and myself.

Jan Gibson was there as well - - 

Norm - aka Pastor Gerring.

I am posing for a statue.

Sgt.  of Washington's Lifeguard,  Matthew Calder,  drew the crowds...
...with his collection of 18th century items.
Living history displays - I really enjoy these.
And so do the visitors~

"This is an original, English issue Brown Bess musket.  It was captured from the British by the 13th Regiment during the Revolutionary War and spent time in several gun collections over the centuries,  until a gunsmith noticed the name on the lock - the same name as one of the local reenactor's wives.  It turns out that it WAS her ancestor who made it!  They now proudly own this family heirloom - and it still fires beautifully!" 
Lynn Anderson~

Mill Race Village also had the Declaration for the people to sign...
which,  by the end of the day,  was filled with signatures.

It's photos like this - unposed - that are my most favorite - - 

...and the mood of all was upbeat,  hopeful,  and filled with the spirit of  '76!

Lynn Anderson took these images of the day's highlight of our Declaration of Independence presentation.
I began it all by giving as bit of history of the Declaration and what lead up to the colonies wanting to be Independent from King George III and England.  I included quotes from letters and broadsides and journal entries,  including what John Adams wrote to his wife,  Abigail,  and Abigail's own description of what she witnessed during and after the 1st reading in Boston:
"Last Thursday after hearing a very good sermon I went with the Multitude into Kings Street to hear the proclamation for independence read and proclaimed.   Some Field pieces with the Train were brought there. 
When Col Crafts read from the Belcona of the State House the Proclamation,  great attention was given to every word.  As soon as he ended,  the cry from the Belcona,  was God save our American States and then 3 cheers which rended the air.  The Bells rang the privateers fired the forts and Batteries,  the cannon were discharged the platoons followed and every face appeared joyfull.   After dinner the kings arms were taken down from the State House and every vestage of him from every place in which it appeared and burnt in king street.  Thus ends royall Authority in this state,  and all the people shall say Amen."
 - Abigail Adams.
"...and all the people shall say Amen." - Abigail Adams~
Our Abigail Adams reading from her letter to her husband,  John,  describing the 1st Boston reading of the Declaration of Independence. 
This young lady is within a year and a half of  the age of Mrs.  Adams on July 4th,  1776!
Photo taken by Bill Annand
She did a wonderful job.
When she read this last line,  all the people in our audience replied,  "Amen!"
Sends chills!
Ben Franklin was then introduced to recite the Declaration of Independence.
I say  "recite"  because our Ben Franklin has this most of American of documents put to memory!
And here he is,  speaking to the crowd on what it was like to meet with John Adams,  Thomas Jefferson,  Roger Sherman,  and Robert Livingston - the Committee of Five.
In case you are unaware,  the  "Committee of Five of the Second Continental Congress was a group of five members who drafted and presented to the full Congress in Pennsylvania State House what would become the United States Declaration of Independence of July 4,  1776." 
And here he is,  reciting the Declaration~
Lynn Anderson put together this collage as well

I snapped a shot from behind the scenes.
The militia was a-waiting for their time to celebrate.
When the reading was done,  we did a  "Three cheers!"  for the new United States of America,  for Ben Franklin  (as being a part of the Committee of Five),  and for George Washington.
And all cheered along.
It was then when the bells began to ring:
Vince Anderson,  portraying John Ross,  rang the church bell.
And Charlotte,  along with a few young  'uns,  rang the bell in the schoolhouse.
As soon as the bells were heard...
Musket fire!

Saluting the new United States of America!

The bells rang,  the muskets were fired,  and the people watching received a wonderful impression of what it was like back in July of 1776!
This presentation is,  perhaps,  my favorite presentation of the entire year!
I just love it and the patriotism that goes with it.
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated,  by succeeding Generations,  as the great anniversary Festival.  It ought to be commemorated,  as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Act of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews,  Games,  Sports,  Guns,  Bells,  Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."  John Adams July 1776
I read this Adams'  letter to the audience during my portion of the presentation,  and explained that along with the parade earlier in the day,  everything they were witnessing was just as John  Adams had hoped for,  for we are the succeeding Generations  (celebrating)  the great anniversary Festival!
And I couldn't be more proud to play my small part.
What we do at Mill Race is try to bring back that spirit of  '76 feeling.
And we all stuck around for a while afterward,  enjoying each other's company,  enjoying speaking to the visitors and celebrants.  This is an amazing day for us,  for a few reenactors and visitors alike have mentioned that this is  their 4th of July.
Wow---do you know how honored that makes me feel?
And the biggest and best is yet to come - next year  (2025)  and especially 2026 I hope to really go like gangbusters and really make this one heck of a  "shew."
My appreciation for those who have made the 4th of July at Mill Race as special as it is,  is as high as the fireworks!

And that night - the night of the 4th of July in my own neighborhood - we completed the course that John Adams set,  with  Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other:
About a half-dozen houses down from me,  they were having some sort of a family party - I believe beyond a 4th of July party.  Perhaps it was a sweet 16 party or a high school graduation party.  Anyhow,  they had a load of fireworks,  and since I always hang my flags out - one modern 50-star and one historical - I try to get  "the rockets red glare,  the bombs bursting in air"  to show proof that  "our flag is still there."

So I stood and waited,  snapping away at nearly anything,  then picking out my favorites once the photos have been downloaded to my computer.
Yes,  I use an actual camera 95% of the time.

I try these shots every year,  and I have not been disappointed in the outcome yet.

But over at the school yard/church yard was another group that had remortgaged their home to purchase neighborhood entertainment.
Okay---they most likely didn't remortgage their home,  but these things ain't cheap!
It was quite a 4th of July spectacular!

I remember when I was young wanting to purchase a slew of boomers,  but my brother reasoned that it was much better to watch everyone else's money  lol

And every year we have those who complain about the fireworks.
It's the 4th of July! 
This has been going on every year for over two centuries.
I personally love it and look forward to it all year.
It's as simple as that!
Yes,  my 2nd favorite holiday - - - and each year I love it more and more.  The booms,  the beautiful illuminations/fireworks that light up the summer sky...the smiles upon the faces...I love it all!
Away with the whiners and complainers!
Especially people like this from 2018:
Residents in a Macomb County neighborhood received a letter threatening retaliation if any house in the surrounding area set off fireworks during the Fourth of July week.
Tony Ivanaj,  a concerned resident of the subdivision,  posted a picture of the letter on his Facebook page and shared it with the Free Press.
The letter writer said if fireworks don't stop before 9 p.m.  in the entire subdivision, then he or she will  "make yours,  and your neighbors'  lives miserable for days and months to come"  and will  "keep the retaliations lasting forever."  The writer said they work a 4 a.m.  to 2 p.m.  shift and do not want their sleep to be disrupted again.
The letter primarily targets houses on Dove Lane in the Eagles Nest subdivision off of Cotton Road and Gratiot Avenue.  But,  the letter also said if neighbors on Eagle Court or Robin Drive set off fireworks that he or she will  "take it out on"  everyone.
Well,  they celebrated without incident.
And the jerk was never found.
Don't be this way - - you are an idiot if you are.

The next day,  July 5th,  I paid a quick visit  (for me!)  to The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.  I had heard there might be some changes made to my favorite museum exhibit,  "With Liberty and Justice For All,"  and that makes me nervous.
What kind of changes?
What will they take away or rearrange?
So I had to take pictures - I took about 50! - but I'm only going to post a few here:
The exterior of the Henry Ford Museum~
It just evokes America!
Hmmm...I wonder why...?

As you step past the ticket-taker and into the museum,  this is one of the first exhibits you see.

And as you step into the exhibit,  we see a lit display dedicated to the Stamp Act of 1765.
Yes,  it is an original copy.

To the right looks like a New York City tavern.
No,  it's not an actual building,  just a temporary wall that looks 18th century.

But on the other side of the wall...
There are wall plaques enticing visitors to learn more about our country's past and the whys & wherefores of us declaring independence.
Notice the monitor on the left.  It is one of my favorite parts of this entire exhibit.
Click the link below to watch it  (yes,  I video-taped it a few years back):

No,  it's not Hollywood,  but I think it's a good watch.

And head to the next wall - - - 
We have a timeline of Revolutionary War events.

And then - BAM! - you are in the Declaration of Independence Room.
Since we are in the Henry Ford Museum,  and not the actual Independence Hall,  it is a display room having a very period effect of the 18th century.  The one thing that is a true gem is that white piece of paper just left of center: 
This exact replica of the original was engraved by William J.  Stone on July 4th,  1823,  commissioned by John Quincy Adams and the Department of State in Washington City  (now known as Washington D.C.).
I love the look and feel of this section.
Like you are in the company of the Founding Generation...
Here is a very interesting story from 2018 about these Declaration facsimiles as printed in the Smithsonian Magazine:
Copy of Declaration of Independence,  Hidden Behind Wall Paper During the Civil War,  Resurfaces in Texas
The document,  which belonged to James Madison,  is one of 200 facsimiles commissioned in the 19th century
Within 40 years of its signing in 1776,  the Declaration of Independence was starting to show signs of aging and wear.  So  in 1820,  John Quincy Adams commissioned printer William Stone to make 200 facsimiles of the precious document.  As Michael E.  Ruane reports for the Washington Post,  one of these meticulous copies,  long believed to have been lost,  recently resurfaced in Texas.
Over the past two centuries,  the document had been owned by James Madison,  hidden behind wallpaper during the Civil War,  and ultimately stored in a bedroom closet.  The copy was recently purchased by the philanthropist David M.  Rubenstein.
The original copy of the Declaration,  which is stored at the National Archives in Washington,  D.C.,  was etched into calfskin and signed by 56 delegates.  According to the website of Seth Kaller,  the rare document appraiser who facilitated the recent sale,  the Declaration  “was frequently unrolled for display to visitors,  and the signatures,  especially,  began to fade after nearly fifty years of handling.”  Worried about the posterity of the document,  Adams turned to Stone.
To make his replica,  Stone spent three years engraving an exacting copy of the original document onto a copper plate.  Once the 200 facsimiles were printed,  they were distributed to Congress,  the White House,  and various political figures.  Former president James Madison received two copies.
For many years,  Kaller tells Ruane,  experts had  “no idea that  [this copy]  had survived.”  But it had,  in fact,  been held for generations by the family of one Michael O’Mara of Houston,  Texas,  who rediscovered the document while going through family papers after his mother’s death in 2014.  His family had once displayed Madison’s copy on their mantelpiece,  but came to believe that the document was  “worthless”  and transferred it to a bedroom closet,  O’Mara tells Ruane.
The Declaration copy had been given to O’Mara’s mother,  who is a descendant of Robert Lewis Madison,  James Madison’s favorite nephew.  It is believed that Robert Madison received the copy from his uncle.  The document subsequently passed into the hands of Robert Madison’s son,  Colonel Robert Lewis Madison Jr.,  who served as a doctor for the Confederate army during the Civil War.
According to a 1913 newspaper article that O’Mara found amid his family’s papers,  Madison Jr.’s wife decided to hide the Declaration copy behind the wallpaper of the family’s home during the heat of the conflict,  fearing that it might fall into the hands of Union soldiers.
O’Mara's research brought him to Rubenstein,  who owns four other William Stone facsimiles.  Stone’s work is particularly prized because,  as Kaller’s website notes,  his engraving  “is the best representation of the Declaration as the manuscript looked prior to its nearly complete deterioration.”
The newly discovered copy is,  however,  notable for the way that its first letter is embellished.  The document's  "T," which begins  "The unanimous Declaration ..."  slightly deviates from the original Declaration's flourished  "T,"  and includes a decorative diagonal line running through it.
"These relics were produced with the idea that they would be cherished as iconic images,  but it's funny because for more than a century they really weren't recognized as such,"  Kaller tells  "There was no market for them and no easy way to display them,  and so they largely got forgotten.  It's amazing that this was preserved and now discovered."
And to think The Henry Ford Museum has one of these!

Just past the Declaration room we have an area dedicated to the Father of our Country,  George Washington:
In this area we have an original camp bed with camping accessories once owned and used by our Commander-in-Chief and 1st President,  along with original campaign buttons and even letters written by Washington himself,  as well as by Benedict Arnold.
This first part of the exhibit,  showing the birth of our country,  interests me most,  and on this day after the 4th I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few people in that general area.  To me,  as this holiday creeps up - say,  from mid-June to mid-July,  they should have,  perhaps,  a presenter for the area.  This is a gem filled with historic American treasures that should be seen.  In fact,  click HERE for a deeper look at this exhibit.
As I have visited this exhibition often,  I did not go any further - I instead wanted to visit my favorite colonial home inside Greenfield Village,  so to exit I walked through another exact replication of Independence Hall,  only this time it was the front foyer,  built just like the original in Philadelphia:
It is breathlessly captivating.
The dark is done on purpose.

And from here I made a quick jaunt through Greenfield Village - just to Daggett and back:
But first,  a quick wave to the Plympton House,
which has Paul Revere connections -
(click HERE)

There's my favorite house inside the Village - built 1750-1754 in Connecticut.

And a new fence!
A new well-sweep last year and a new fence this year!
I had to laugh at the many people who were not happy to see a  "new"  fence;  they felt because it's an old house,  the fence should be old as well.  But why put up an old fence when Samuel Daggett himself would not do so?  This will be appropriately weather-aged very soon - within a year or two.

This was one sweltering humid day,  so I had to ask the presenters inside:
"Aren't you hot in all those clothes?"
They about clobbered me lolol
I don't know...there's something about visiting colonial American History over the 4th of July weekend.  It gets me every time.
It's nice,  during these  "woke"  times,  seeing thousands of people of many different races,  and nearly all sporting the red,  white,  and blue,  whether on a shirt,  hat,  pants,  shorts,  shoes,  bandana,  pin,  or perhaps carrying an American flag or umbrella.  
Patriotic Americans.
Just the opposite of what I read and hear in the news.

~  ~  ~

Until next time,  see you in time.

And I pray you had 
~Happy Independence Day~
as well~ 

Many, many  thanks must go to our host, Northville's historic Mill Race Village.  To learn more about this wonderful open-air museum,  please click HERE

Here are a few links you may be interested in checking out:
I've written quite a bit about the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence,  and so I put together a collection of them in a single post.  You just have to click HERE

Click HERE for a deeper look at the With Liberty & Justice For All  exhibit.  More close up of individual pieces.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2012 - Before I began reenacting the 18th century/1770s/Revolutionary War,  I reenacted the 1860s/Civil War era  (still do!),  and on this 100+ degree July 4th,  a few of us were very hot in all of our period clothing and celebrated at Greenfield Village.  In fact,  according to the Detroit News:  "The hottest Fourth of July on record in Detroit was in 2012 with 102 degrees."  And here's how it went for us that day.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2013 - A few of us returned to Greenfield Village in our 1860s clothing for this year's celebration.  The temperature was much more reasonable than the previous year!

Celebrating the 4th of July 2014 - For my first time,  I wore colonial clothes on the 4th of July,  once again at Greenfield Village,  and a few other colonials joined me.  This,  for me,  felt perfect.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2015 - Celebrating similar to 2014,  though we have a different set of colonials coming to the Village this year.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2016 - A few of us dressed colonial while others dressed Victorian,  then we all found our way back to Greenfield Village.  We were a sort of time-line.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2017 - We had a such a good time at Greenfield Village,  then we went to Mill Race Village for our first time to check out their celebration!  We even got a thank you in their newsletter:  "Thank you to the Citizens of  The American Colonies for bringing Ben Franklin and friends to remind us of where and how this country began."

Celebrating the 4th of July 2018 - Pretty much a repeat of last year,  only we had different folks join us at Greenfield Village and we had a larger group - a much larger group! - join us at Mill Race Village,  where we made quite a splash.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2019 - This was the best 4th of July yet!  We had a very large group of colonials come out to Mill Race Village and celebrated America in a way it hadn't been done in over 40 years,  I'm sure!  What fun we all had!  

Celebrating the 4th of July 2020 - 2020...the year of  Corona Virus/Covid-19.  Nothing - absolutely nothing - was going on,  or so one would think.  However,  when Greenfield Village finally opened its gates on that July 2nd---just in time for the 4th!---I was ecstatic!  And then a few of us decided to come out in our colonial-era clothing and celebrate the 4th of July as we've been doing,  only as a smaller group.
But we did it!

Celebrating the 4th of July 2021 - The Covid fear was still reigning o'er the land,  but it had much less of a grip,  and our celebrations of Independence Day began to grow once again.  We went back to Greenfield Village.  We went  "unofficially"  back to Mill Race Village on July 5th,  which was the Federal celebration,  though with a smaller group than two years ago.  There was nothing going on,  though a number of visitors were enjoying the bright sunshiny day and strolled through the park.  
And my wife and I even paid a visit to Crossroads Village.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2022 - This was a full weekend celebration!  Beginning by watching the parade in Lexington,  Michigan,  traveling to Greenfield Village's Salute to America the next day,  then having the largest 4th of July celebration since the Bicentennial in 1976 at Mill Race Village the following day! 

Celebrating America's Bicentennial - this is what I wrote in 2022 and shows my Bicentennial collection of  Americana collectibles as well as has some fun stories from friends on how they celebrated that magical year back in 1976.

Celebrating the 4th of July in 2023 - Greenfield Village,  Mill Race Village,  historic flags...again,  our Independence Day celebrations have been the best,  and each year seems to get better!

4th of July:  The Red,  White,  and Blue  (and the Bicentennial,  too!) - Written in 2023,  this is a sort of  "part 2"  to the previous Bicentennial posting,  showing lots of red,  white,  and blue and more of the Bicentennial collectibles I've obtained.

The Founding Generation: A Whiskey Rebellion of Sorts - What I have here are short biographies of many of our founders.  However...lately I've been collecting the McCormick Distillers whiskey decanters - the Patriot collection from 1976.  They are great American history collectibles - my own little whiskey rebellion  (so to speak)!  High quality - just wait  'til you see  'em~

July 4: The Great Anniversary Festival----More Bicentennial and Patriotic Collectibles - And for 2024,  we also have a  "part 3"  of my Bicentennial collectibles.  I mean,  there is even a State of Michigan Bicentennial lottery ticket! 
Some very interesting items here.

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