‘A Day in Towne’ recognizes soldiers’ sacrifices

For the CDTMay 24, 2013 

  • Schedule of events — May 27 Blue Spring Park

    • 8:30 a.m.: “Run for Fun”

    Village Diamond, Main and Church streets

    • 8-11 a.m.: Pies accepted for 28th annual Fruit Pie Contest

    • 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Village shops open

    • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Sidewalk sales, crafts, food, beverages

    • 10:30-11:30 a.m.: State College High School Jazz Band

    • Noon-1 p.m.: Maypole dance with the Little German Band and the Central Pennsylvania Dance Workshop

    • 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Music by The Nigthcrawlers

    • 2:30-3 p.m.: Selections from the 2013 summer season by the State College Community Theatre

    • 3-4 p.m.: Music by Pure Cane Sugar

    • 5:45 p.m.: 149th walk to Boalsburg Cemetery from the Diamond

    Boalsburg Heritage Museum, 304 E. Main St.

    • Noon-4 p.m.: Guided tours and “Hearth Cooking” exhibit by Debbie and Charles Nydegger

    • 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Hot pretzels from a beehive oven

    • 1 p.m.: Announcement of the “What Can My Family and I Do to Keep Our Country Strong?” essay contest winners

    • 2-4 p.m.: Music by Dan & Galla

    Harris Township office, 224 E. Main St.

    • 100 a.m.: Sale of ham and bean and vegetable soups, homemade bread

    Boalsburg Cemetery, Business U.S. Route 322 and Church Street

    • 6 p.m.: 149th cemetery service with speaker Elizabeth Ritter (In case of inclement weather, services will be inside St. John’s United Church of Christ)

    Boal Mansion grounds, 300 Old Boalsburg Road

    • 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Historical re-enactments by Hampton’s Legion Artillery and 148th PA Volunteer Infantry

    • Guided tours of the Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum

    • Dominion Science Center’s interactive and science displays for kids

    • Hand-made craft demonstrations and sales

    • Food, drink and dessert booths. including Amish pretzels and barbecue sandwiches.

    • 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.: Cannonade by Hampton’s Legion Artillery

    • 9:30 a.m.: 19th-century brass band music by Coburn Brass

    • 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.: Civil War battle between Hampton’s Legion Artillery (Confederate) and Company C of the 148th PA Volunteer Infantry (Union)

    • 11 a.m.: Patriotic brass music by the Bellefonte Community Band

    • 12:15 p.m.: Singer-songwriter-story-teller Christopher Kent

    • 1 p.m.: Boal Awards Ceremony

    • 2 and 3:30 p.m.: Rock music by Overhead

    • 3 and 4:30 p.m.: Rock singer Gina Ricci and pianist Chris Lee

    Pennsylvania Military Museum, Business U.S. Route 322

    • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Allegheny Region Antique Automobile Club of America car show

    • 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Museum tours

    Related events

    • 5 p.m. May 25: Boalsburg Fire Company Parade

    • May 24-27: Boalsburg Fire Company Carnival

Many revelers in the Centre Region think of Boalsburg as the birthplace of Memorial Day. To celebrate, festivities will line the village streets in honor of its 149th “Day in Towne” Memorial Day event.

The past

In 1864, two women, Emma Hunter and her friend Sophie Keller, picked flowers to lay on the grave of Emma’s father, a Boalsburg doctor who joined the Army of the North during the Civil War. While serving at the Baltimore Hospital caring for wounded soldiers, Dr. Hunter contracted yellow fever.

On the way to lay the flowers, the two women met Elizabeth Myers, who lost a son the final day of the war’s battle of Gettysburg. After learning where the women were going, Myers asked to join them, as her son was buried in the same cemetery. The women shared their flowers to honor both graves and agreed to meet again the next year. Word got out, and the next year, the women were joined by most of the town’s residents. This day of remembrance grew into a celebration, the festival itself became a tradition and thus became a nationally recognized holiday honoring our fallen forefathers.

The present

Boal Mansion Museum CEO and Boalsburg Village Conservancy President Christopher Lee knows the story like the back of his band. He cofounded the “Day in Town” festival since its beginning in 1974 and organizes the event to this day.

“I find the Civil War battle (re-enactment) that takes place on the lawn of the Boal Estate ... fascinating. It always draws a big crowd of young and old,” he said. “To see the soldiers fighting and dying in real time really brings home the high personal stakes for each soldier in addition to the high stakes for the nation.”

Lee’s own family tree is deeply rooted on seeds planted by the Civil War. His ancestor, Union Adm. Samuel Phillips Lee, was in charge of the blockade of the South, and the admiral’s cousin, Gen. Robert E. Lee, was the commander of the southern troops. Lee’s great-great-grandfather George Jack Boal’s brother, Capt. John Boal, was slain in action a month before the end of the Civil War during the Battle of Averysboro, N.C.

“The Civil War was very personal for my family,” Lee said. “For me, Memorial Day is about remembering people like Capt. John Boal, who went before us, and thanking them for their sacrifices. It’s also something that gives the present-day community a sense of identity and common purpose. By remembering those who contributed in the past, we hope to inspire our young people to contribute to the community in the future.”

The event

On Memorial Day, Boalsburg will share its streets with an anticipated 20,000 people, Lee said. Guests and patrons are invited to enjoy an arsenal of activities. The three museums (Boalsburg Heritage Museum, Boal Mansion and the Pennsylvania Military Museum) will have family-oriented activities throughout the day, including military encampments and a battle by Civil War re-enactors. Artisans from throughout the Northeast will offer arts and crafts for sale. In addition, there will be food, fanfare and fun for all ages.

“People also enjoy the Maypole ceremony in the Village Square,” Lee said. “It is very picturesque and evokes pastoral themes going back thousands of years.”

The festivities kick off with a “Run for Fun” at Blue Spring Park at 8:30 a.m. and will close with a 6 p.m. service community address by Navy veteran John Wainright, focused on remembering the sacrifices made by the military.

For more information, visit www.boalmuseum.com/memorialdayvillage.html or call 466-9266.

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