10th Annual Lafayette Birthday Celebration
September 8 and 9, 2017 in Historic Downtown Fayetteville, NC (unless otherwise indicated)
This is North Carolina’s official Lafayette Birthday Celebration, as recognized by the NC General Assembly and the United States House and Senate!
Click on an event below to learn more!
Arias and Artifacts at Methodist University
Davis Memorial Library at Methodist University will celebrate 50 years of the Lafayette Collection with a display of original letters written by Lafayette, along with ceramic pitchers and bowls, medals, snuff boxes, and other items manufactured in the early nineteenth-century to commemorate the hero’s celebrated visit to America. This was the forerunner of today’s “merchandizing” of rock stars and sports heroes. And speaking of that, Lafayette “Rock Concert” tee shirts will be available Saturday for purchase at the Festival of Yesteryear and at City Center Gallery & Books!
Returning for this year’s concert is international pianist Anastasia Bryant (shown below with piano), originally from Veronezh, Russia, where she taught at the Veronezh State Academy of Arts. Since moving to the United States, she has worked as an instructor and accompanist at Montclair State University in New Jersey and now teaches at Snyder Music Academy in Fayetteville.
A catered reception with French-themed foods begins at 5:30 pm in the library. A brief program by curator Arleen Fields follows at 6 pm. She will explain how the collection got started and talk about the back stories (and mysteries!) of some of the newest acquisitions. (There is no charge for the reception and program.)
The Arias segment of the evening, an hour-long concert featuring vocal and instrumental music by French composers, begins at 7:30 pm in the Hensdale Chapel next door to the library. As usual, classically-trained vocalist Dr. Gail Morfesis has assembled a stunning array of professional talent for the concert this year. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling 910-678-8899 or they may be purchased at the door.
Lafayette Trail Tour
200 years after Lafayette visited Fayetteville, you can follow in his footsteps on a narrated tour by Commander Bruce Daws of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry. During this unique historical experience, you will learn intriguing facts about the early history of Fayetteville and North Carolina and why Lafayette’s visit was the event of the century for our fair town!
The tour begins at the Museum of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry on Burgess Street downtown, where guests will enjoy a continental breakfast of coffee and croissants and get to see Lafayette’s carriage up-close! After touring the sites visited by the famous Frenchman, there will be a light lunch at a surprise historic site (think of it as a 19th-century “pop-up event!”). Guests will also receive a goodie bag, compliments of the Lafayette Society and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Due to space limitations, advance reservations are required. Tickets are only $30 and may be purchased at City Center Gallery & Books at 112 Hay Street or by calling 910-678-8899. Inquire about a reduced rate for teachers and students and active-duty military. There will be some walking but other portions of the tour will be on a comfortable air-conditioned bus.
The Lafayette Trail is an official Heritage Driving Trail of the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Get a preview of your tour at www.visitfayettevillenc.com.
Historic Tours by Horse and Carriage
Sponsored by the Downtown Alliance every second Saturday of the month, this is a shorter (45-minute) tour that provides a great overview of Fayetteville’s 250-year history, with an emphasis on the Revolutionary War and Fayetteville’s “Golden Age” that followed. This will be a “specialty tour,” featuring a rare opportunity to visit inside Cool Spring Tavern. It was here that delegates from all over North Carolina stayed in 1789 when they met to ratify the United States Constitution, because Fayetteville was the State capital at the time. Your docent at Cool Spring will be Lulie Harry, whose family has owned this historic property since 1860.
Tickets for this tour are $25 and may be purchased at City Center Gallery & Books or by calling 910-678-8899. Tickets are $20 with a military ID and $15 for children under 12.
Festival of Yesteryear
Focusing on the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods, this program features re-enactors demonstrating various aspects of daily life of that era, including colonial medicine, crime and punishment, music, woodworking, tar making and naval stores, and militia drills. Living history groups include Camp Flintlock and the North Carolina Highland Regiment. There will be performances by the Tryon Palace Fife and Drum Corp, and Life as Art Productions: African Spirituals: Freedom Prayers. Be sure to visit Apprentice Alley, where children can participate and learn a variety of trades through hands-on crafts and activities. At 2PM, there will be a birthday cake and ice cream party to help celebrate Lafayette’s 260th birthday – free while it lasts! Food and snacks will also be available for purchase. FREE ADMISSION. The Museum of the Cape Fear is located at 801 Arsenal Avenue in Haymount. For more information, visit www.ncdcr.gov/ncmcf.
Market House Exhibit “Lafayette in Fayetteville – 1825”
Invited by President James Monroe as “The Nation’s Guest,” Lafayette toured all 23 states of the Union from 1824 to 1825. It was a tremendous honor for Fayetteville, North Carolina, when Lafayette visited this fair city on March 4th and 5th of 1825. Citizens and city fathers went “all out” for the celebration and they haven’t stopped celebrating since! Come see a display about the various ways that Fayetteville has remembered its famous namesake then and now.
The circa 1832 Market House is one of only 40 buildings in the entire state of North Carolina to be designated as a National Landmark. The State House, built in 1788, stood on this site when Fayetteville was the Capitol. Lafayette spoke to the adoring crowds from its east balcony in 1825. Come upstairs to the second floor and explore the exhibit between 10am and 4pm.
Lafayette Birthday Sidewalk Sale
The shops in Historic Downtown offer THE most unique shopping options to be found anywhere in Fayetteville. The merchants are celebrating Lafayette’s birthday by offering some really great deals on the sidewalk or inside their stores. Look for the French flags!
While shopping downtown for great bargains at the Lafayette Birthday Sidewalk Sale, keep an eye out for roving musicians like this Parisian accordion player or the Amazing Thiriot Family.
The Lafayette Escadrille in World War One
Even before the United States entered WWI, a number of young men left for France between 1915 and 1917 to join the fight against Germany. Some fought as airmen in the Lafayette Escadrille, patrolling the skies over the French and German lines and engaging with the enemy in aerial combat. At 7 pm, City Center Gallery & Books will host a presentation on the history of the men and planes of the Lafayette Escadrille by Mike Ariano. Mike spent almost 15 years in the US Army on active duty and with the National Guard, deployed three times to Iraq, once with the 82nd Airborne Division, and recently to Kosovo with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, one of only six Armored Brigades in the National Guard. Mike has his pilot’s license and is the creator and curator of the Airman’s Aviation Garage Museum, which displays a series of model airplanes from WWI to the present along with detailed information on each one.
Admission is FREE but seating is limited. City Center Gallery & Books is located at 112 Hay Street. Plan to drop by the Wine Café just 4 doors down for the French wine tasting before or after the presentation!
French Wine Tasting
After a full day of history and fun, drop into The Wine Café and take a trip to France by way of her wines! Owner Angie Malave will host a free tasting with a guest expert to explain the characteristics of wines from different regions of France. After your virtual tour of France through the wine stations, and after you have identified your favorites, take a couple of bottles home with you. Remember, French wines are actually very affordable –and they are the real thing! Also, ask about store discounts when you buy a six-pack or a case!
There is no admission charge and no reservations are required, but come early because this popular event always fills up fast. This is a guaranteed evening of fun in Historic Downtown! The Wine Café is located at 108 Hay Street across from the Market House.