Patriots Day

Re-enactors take part in the Patriots’ Day festivities last year on St. Simons Island. The annual tradition returns Saturday at the Casino and Neptune Park.

Patriotism is going retro this Saturday in the Pier Village on St. Simons Island, taking it back to where it all began with tricorne hats, muzzle-loading firearms and a healthy dose of defiance for royal authority.

The 15th annual Patriots’ Day celebration begins at 10 a.m. with historical presentations in the Casino on Beachview Drive followed by the ever-popular Parade of Patriots’ through the Pier Village shopping district, both featuring folks attired in Colonial-era garb. In recognition of the “shot heard round the world” on April 19, 1775, Revolutionary War historical interpreters will fire cannon on the lawn overlooking the waterfront at Neptune Park, accompanied by musket salute.

The event is free and open to the public. It is hosted by various local chapters of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.

“We hope you all will join us for this event to recognize those brave souls who stood for freedom against tyranny,” said Bill Ramsaur, a member of the Marshes of Glynn Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. “It’s a fun, family-friendly event that is educational for young and old alike.”

This local celebration is a unique event with a hometown twist on a traditional observance in the northeast. It is held each year on a Saturday near April 19, taking advantage of a shared day in Revolutionary War history.

Patriots’ Day is a long-standing state holiday in Maine and Massachusetts, held to recognize the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Three years into the Revolutionary War, however, the Georgia State Navy struck a blow for freedom in local waters by capturing three British warships during the Frederica Naval Action on April 19, 1778.

“This event allows us to recognize a very significant moment in American history while also shedding light on a lesser-known moment in the Revolutionary War that occurred right here off St. Simons Island,” Ramsaur said.

The ceremony at the Casino, 550 Beachview Drive, will feature color guards and historical interpreters from several SAR and DAR chapters, as well as other heritage groups throughout the state. Five local middle school students will give presentations on significant contributions of Georgians to the Revolution. The Risley Middle School Chorus will perform “A Song for Thee” and “Song for Unsung Heroes.”

Out on the front lawn, members of the Brier Creek Artillery will preside over cannon fire at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. A militia detail will provide a musket salute.

The Parade of Patriots gets under way at 11:45 a.m., featuring local scouts and high school JROTC color guards as well as historical interpreters and Revolutionary War color guards. Freedom riders Paul Revere (Jason Zangla) and Sybil Ludington (Sienna Sahlberg) will join the procession of horseback.

Several local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops will take part as well. In fact, Ramsaur said, all local scouts are welcome to show up in uniform and join the parade.

“We received a really incredible response from our local youth,” said Ramsaur, who regularly dresses as Gen. George Washington to bring history alive in local classrooms. “We’re amazed that they want to come out here on a Saturday.”

While the historical interpreters may appear lost in time among the crowd atSaturday’s event, Ramsaur assures those attending that these folks are quite approachable and eager to share their historical knowledge.

“We especially encourage the youngsters who are studying this history in school to come out,” Ramsaur said. “They can meet re-enactors dressed in colonial clothing, examine their muskets and discuss our ancestors.”

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