AJ birthday party Saturday

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By Chris Sardelli

The sounds of choirs and the blasts of black powder guns will reverberate across Andrew Jackson State Park during its annual Andrew Jackson Birthday Celebration on Saturday.

The event, which commemorates Andrew Jackson’s birthday on March 15, has been an annual tradition at the park since the 1950s.

Laura Ledford, the park’s interpretive ranger, said the event usually attracts between 500 and 1,000 visitors, and she expects a similar crowd this year.

“We’d love to see everyone come out and see the park,” Ledford said. “This will let them see what life was like in the 1700s.”

Much of the preparation is done by volunteers. Ledford says more than 100 volunteers will help with the celebration this year.

“The community helps make it happen,” she said. “They are very excited about it. People volunteer to make the day a success.”

The birthday celebration is sponsored by Andrew Jackson State Park, the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park and the Lancaster County Retired Educators Association.

It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21. It is free with park admission. Brunson’s BBQ will sell lunches and a bake sale will feature desserts.

The program kicks off with a musket demonstration near the Andrew Jackson statue at 11:15 a.m.

Several county schools are scheduled to perform, including the Buford Middle School band, which will perform “The Star Spangled Banner,” the Lancaster High School ROTC, which will present colors, and Andrew Jackson Middle School, which will have an assortment of performances, including a choir and puppet show.

There will be several crafters demonstrating 18th-century skills, such as how to create baskets, brooms, clothing and furniture.

Guests will also have the chance to try several hands-on activities, such as churning butter and dipping candles. Guests are encouraged to visit the park’s museum and take a tour of the one-room schoolhouse.

Jane Massey, president of the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park, which helps organize the event, said she hopes they will see good weather for this year’s celebration.

Last year, the event was interrupted by a thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

“I really hope people come out,” Massey said. “It’s a good family activity. We want people to have fun learning history.”

 Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416