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Severe storms fail to dampen enthusiasm at Andrew Jackson Birthday Celebration

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By The Staff

Amidst the sounds of the hammer dulcimer and musket fire, history came to life Saturday at Andrew Jackson State Park. March 15, 2008, marked the 241st birthday of the nation’s seventh president.

Logan Waldo, a fifth-grader at the Discovery School, was excited to be at the celebration Saturday.

“The event was an opportunity to go back in time,” said Logan, who was dressed in colonial garb, complete with a toy musket.

Dressing up and re-enacting was also on fourth-grader Jordan Reeves’ mind.

He came to help out with the candle-dipping demonstration. He was dressed in a Revolutionary War era reproduction jacket and breeches. He was already planning the next purchase for his outfit – a cartridge box.

His mother, Susan Reeves, said he might need boots first, but he didn’t agree.

“Nah, most of the boys were barefooted back then anyway,” he said.

The skies were cloudy and overcast most of the morning. The afternoon brought the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

“Today was a day where you kept one eye on the activities and one eye on the weather,” said Jane Massey, president of the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park.

Park manager Kirk Johnston agreed.

“Despite the threatening weather, everyone was excited to be here, both the volunteers and our guests,” he said.

Massey said she was grateful to have so many participants from the community.

“We want to thank all the schools and churches that participated in the event,” she said.

Performances were given by the Buford Middle School band, the Indian Land High School chorus, the Andrew Jackson Middle School drama department and the White Oak AME Zion Church youth choir.

About 400 people attended the event co-sponsored by the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park, the Lancaster County Retired Educators Association and the city of Lancaster.

The visitors showed their support for the park by buying all of the plants, barbecue and baked goods available for sale.

The event wound up a little early when organizers announced at 2:30 p.m. that heavy rains were imminent and everyone packed up for the day.

“At the heart of all the activities, performances, and demonstrations, we want to remember the boy who left the Waxhaws as an ambitious youth and landed in the White House, still reflecting the backcountry values he grew up with,” Johnston said.