GW celebrates George’s birthday in style

GW celebrated George Washington’s birthday in colonial style Tuesday evening.

This year’s events, the second annual University celebration of Washington’s birthday, included music, food and tributes to George Washington’s era.

The ceremony began in Kogan Plaza with a performance by an eight-member fife and drum corps, followed by remarks by John Douglas Hall, a visitor from George Washington’s era, as he was introduced by University Marshal Jill Kasle.

George Washington left a legacy to each of us to address and acknowledge, said the Revolutionary-era clad Hall. Here is someone we can emulate, cherish and lay example for our own lives.

Hall’s opening comments stressed Washington’s desire for applying education.

We cannot remain idle, he said. This is not a static university, it is a kinetic one.

The fife and drum corps led a procession from Kogan Plaza to the Quad. A lantern that was brought from Washington’s Mount Vernon home to the University in 1996 as part of the school’s 175th anniversary celebration was used to light the bonfire, while the tune of Yankee Doodle from the fife and drum corps lingered in the background. Colonial tri-cornered hats commemorating the event were given out.

The food served on the Quad was picked to resemble that of Washington’s day, Kasle said. Mush peas, jacket potatoes, hot apple cider and s’mores were served.

The food was surprisingly good, graduate student Careema Yusuf said.

The birthday event drew a larger crowd than last year, mostly because of the better weather conditions Tuesday, University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said. Families from local communities were in attendance, along with members of the University.

(The celebration) is a self-renewing experience, Trachtenberg said. Every year it’ll be the same, but new. He said the same celebration can be expected next year, to carry on the consistency of the tradition.

The celebration was initiated last year with winter activities (the bonfire and winter picnic) for Washington’s winter birthday.

Trachtenberg and the community wanted to celebrate the birthday, said Jim Hess, director of University Special Events.

It seemed backwards for the country to celebrate and not us, Kasle said.

It was fun, graduate student Sharon Simpson said. There was free food and hats. It’s better than buying dinner.

More free food, free bowling and pool and a viewing of the GW men’s basketball game in the Hippodrome followed the outdoor festivities.

The birthday events were co-sponsored by University Special Events and The Order of the Hippo, a new organization that desires to foster community-supportive roles on campus, Hess said.

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