December 5, 2013
The famed holiday fireworks begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, in Colonial Williamsburg. But there’s much more to know and do at this year’s Grand Illumination:
1. Where can I find a complete list of Grand Illumination events?
2. Where can I watch the fireworks?
Fireworks displays can be viewed from three locations within the Historic Area: the Capitol, the Magazine and the Palace.
3. What can I do while waiting for the fireworks to begin? How can I keep the family entertained?
Musical performances will be held throughout the revolutionary city. You’ll be able to find at least one to suit the tastes of everyone in your group. And many Merchants Square shops will remain open as late as 9 p.m.
4. Speaking of taste, what’s to eat?
You can enjoy a variety of fare throughout Merchants Square. Several restaurants will remain open until 10 p.m. or later on Sunday, and Market Stands will be serving hot cider, cookies and more. In the historic area, Raleigh Tavern Bakery, Dubois Grocery and Chowning’s Garden Bar are open until 8 p.m.; McKenzie Apothecary is open until 7 p.m.
5. What if it rains?
We do not anticipate cancellation of fireworks or other programs due to rain. However, wind and weather conditions will be monitored throughout the day; any schedule changes will be posted on history.org and the Colonial Williamsburg Facebook page.
6. I can’t make it to Grand Illumination this year but I want to plan ahead for next year. When is the event in 2014?
Great idea to plan ahead! Grand Illumination will be held Dec. 7, 2014. And also on Dec. 6, 2015; Dec. 4, 2016; and Dec. 3, 2017.
December 5, 2013
By Toni Guagenti
If you’re a history-loving pachyderm, you’re bound to be a frequent visitor at Colonial Williamsburg. And Ellis the Elephant, a creation of children’s book author Callista Gingrich, will be back for a book-signing on Saturday in Merchants Square.
Gingrich’s third Ellis the Elephant book, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” aims to teach children ages 4 to 8 about the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of the tricorn-wearing Ellis.
Traveling through time, Ellis has a front-row seat to the events and patriots that shaped our history, from the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere’s one-if-by-land-and-two-if-by-sea ride, from the victory at Yorktown to George Washington’s spurning of the title of king.
The book signing will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the College of William and Mary Bookstore in Merchants Square in Colonial Williamsburg.
“These books are really about patriotism and our nation’s humble beginnings,” Gingrich said in a phone interview earlier this week. “They’re not meant to be Republican books or conservative books, but pro-American books.” Gingrich is married to Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House who campaigned for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
The previous Ellis book, “Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride,” starts in Virginia and explores America’s 13 colonies and their fight for freedom against England. Williamsburg served as the political, cultural and educational center of the colony and as Virginia’s capital from 1699 to 1780.
Gingrich game up with the idea for the series after determining that few books on American history had been written for a very young audience.
“There’s literally nothing like Ellis the Elephant series,” she said. “I write these books because I love America, and I truly believe America is an exceptional nation.”
Gingrich’s first book, “Sweet Land of Liberty” in 2011 looked at pivotal moments that shaped the nation, including the Wright Brothers’ First Flight in 1903. Each has been illustrated by Susan Arciero.
Newt Gingrich also will be at the bookstore on Saturday signing his latest novel, “Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate.” Both of the couple’s books are published by Regnery.
Callista Gingrich remembers last year’s visit to Williamsburg to meet fans and autograph books.
“We had a wonderful turnout, and we’re just thrilled to be back,” Gingrich said. “We have come to Williamsburg many times; it’s a favorite place to visit.”
Since 2007, Gingrich has served as president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production company. The couple resides in McLean, Va.
Gingrich’s fourth Ellis book, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” is scheduled for release next October and will cover the time from the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 through the Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804 to 1806.
Toni Guagenti is a free-lance writer based in Norfolk, Va.
November 27, 2013
The annual Turkey Trot 5K race begins at 8:30 on Thursday morning, taking runners through Williamsburg’s historic area as well as through The College of William & Mary campus. Runners will begin by heading north on South Boundary Street toward West Duke of Gloucester Street.
A one-mile Fun Run for kids and families begins at 9:30 a.m. in Merchants Square.
Online registration is closed, but runners can pick up a race packet and register between 7 and 8 a.m. behind the Blue Talon Bistro restaurant, 420 Prince George Street in Williamsburg.
Sponsored by the Blue Talon Bistro, the event raises money to help feed low-income families, and the Avalon Women and Children’s Center.
November 12, 2013
As weather forecasters predict the season’s first hint of snow today, think about sharing some Williamsburg winter-weather postcards with friends and family.
On our popular postcard pages, you can choose a photo, design and even typography.
Add your message and the recipient’s e-mail address, and the postcard is on its way.
October 7, 2013
Colonial Williamsburg’s online game series, “RevQuest: Save the Revolution,” will change the minds of youngsters who might think learning history is stuffy and dry.
In today’s podcast, host Harmony Hunter and guest Lisa Fischer of Colonial Williamsburg’s Digital History Center explain the interactive series, which has just launched its third game.
“RevQuest” uses text-messaging to engage players in a Revolutionary spy’s world of danger, loyalty, codes and plots. Players become “spies” as they travel through Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City, fighting characters who present a threat to America. But even while players use their modern mobile devices to play the game, they’re learning about 18th-century ciphers, codes, citizenship, and even poisons.