STURBRIDGE, Massachusetts ---- An expanded, 3-day celebration of Independence Day will take place at Old Sturbridge Village, to include the firing of a reproduction cannon and a host of other patriotic activities, from July 2-4. Visitors will have the chance to take part in a citizens' parade, a daily flag-raising ceremony, play 19th-century style "base ball," march with the militia, and sign their "John Hancocks" on a giant copy of the Declaration of Independence. Musicians will play fife and drum music throughout the weekend. Summer barbecue foods will be available for purchase along with beer and wine; visitors may enjoy a picnic on the Common. There is also a more formal dining experience available with table service at the Village's NEW Tap Room in the Oliver Wight Tavern. Children and families will especially enjoy a little physical activity and friendly competition with "Farmyard Games." A brass band, Quintebrass, will perform on July 2nd and 3rd.
For the second year, this year's festivities include the firing of a reproduction 18th-century cannon. The cannon is a working model of a so-called Heavy 3-Pounder, meant to fire 3-pound balls. The cast-iron cannon barrel was made in the 1970s by the LaPans Foundry in Hudson Falls, New York, and purchased by Old Sturbridge Village a few years ago.
The cannon carriage was constructed by museum staff and volunteers, with guidance from external consultants. Its styling and construction echoes that of the British cannon carriages commonly in use during the mid- to late-18th century. Using period images of these carriages and their construction, carpenter Jonathan Duvall, a volunteer at the Village, shaped and assembled the wood components of the carriage. Starting in November of 2014, the Village's blacksmiths began the laborious task of researching, planning, and finally forging all the correct iron hardware for the carriage based on the same images. Blacksmith Jymm Hoffman of Hoffman's Forge in Ambridge, Pennsylvania was called in to help the blacksmiths, as he is a specialist in iron hardware for cannon carriages of the period. Village blacksmiths worked closely with Duvall to fit all the necessary pieces of hardware to the wood.