February Vacation Week at Old Sturbridge Village Feb. 16-24

Monday, January 28, 2013

Washington's Birthday Ball, indoor crafts, and outdoor winter fun;
Free admission for all named “George” and “Martha” Feb. 16-18;
Performance of “Love Letters" with John & Abigail Adams Feb. 17

STURBRIDGE, MA) - Jan. 28, 2013: Parents will find it easy to keep the kids busy during School Vacation Week Feb. 16-24 at Old Sturbridge Village, which is offering a wide range of outdoor winter fun and indoor hands-on crafts. Outside, visitors can enjoy sleigh rides, ice skating (bring your skates), sledding on 1830s-style reproduction sleds (all weather permitting. Indoor activities include dipping candles, making a Washington cake and paper George Washington militia hat, and writing with a quill pen. For all times and details: 800-733-1830; www.osv.org.

Vacation week at OSV starts with a festive 1830s-style tribute to George Washington during Presidents' Day Weekend Feb. 16-18, including a Washington's Birthday Ball, Presidential Food Contest, Presidential Trivia games, and free admission for everyone named "George" and "Martha." Visitors can take part in traditional toasts to George Washington and enjoy presentations of “I Cannot Tell a Lie: Celebrating the Life and Accomplishments of George Washington in Story and Song.”

On Sunday, Feb. 17 actors Thomas Macy and Patricia Bridgman will portray John and Abigail Adams in Love Letters: The Intimate Correspondence of John & Abigail Adams based on the four decades of surviving letters between this devoted founding couple.

Feet will be tapping on Monday, Feb. 18 as the Old Sturbridge Village dancers present the Village's annual Washington Birthday Ball. Beforehand, OSV historians will demonstrate how ladies in the early 1800s styled their hair (using bear grease and sausage curls) in “Her Crowning Glory.” Visitors can learn about 19th-century ball etiquette and accessories, and participate in contra dances and cotillions, the forerunners of today’s line dancing and square dancing.

About George Washington

According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, George Washington’s birthday was one of the biggest holidays celebrated in 19th-century rural New England, and the man was elevated to exalted status by a young country that was trying to find a sense of unity. Washington became an almost mythical figure, exemplifying all of the virtues citizens aspired to and admired.

Many of the favorite stories about Washington were not really true, including the tale of young George chopping down a cherry tree. This story was invented by the president’s first biographer, Mason Locke Weems, who most likely never even met Washington. In truth, nearly all of the anecdotes in the first edition of Weems’ book about Washington were fabricated, but the biography was tremendously popular and subsequent editions included even more made-up tales.

George Washington was, however, a physically imposing man of great endurance and strength, and he was one of the best athletes of his day. Despite this, he was frequently ill -- something that was not public knowledge at the time. His biographers focused instead on the fact that Washington was never wounded during the Revolutionary War, although he did have several near misses.

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates life in the 1830s, and is one of the country’s largest living history museums. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., the Village is open year-round, but hours vary seasonally. Winter hours are Wed. - Sun. 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (the Village is open on all Monday holidays); Admission is: $24 for adults; $22 for seniors; $8 for children ages 3-17; children 2 and under are admitted free. Each admission includes free parking and a free second-day visit within 10 days. Woo Card subscribers get 25% of adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive 50% off adult daytime admission. For event details, visit www.osv.org or call 800-SEE-1830.

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Ann Lindblad
VP Communications
Old Sturbridge Village

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