by: Mark Larson
While many celebrated our nation’s birth with fireworks this weekend, the explosions at SCERA Park had a particularly patriotic ring to them.
With musket blasts, cannon explosions and revolutionary war costumes to boot, the park in Orem was host to Utah’s Colonial Heritage Festival.
Alpine School District teachers and artisans from around the state contributed their knowledge and expertise to deliver a truly patriotic tribute to our nations birth. The festival’s booths included everything from a colonial apothecary to an interactive debate at the Old South Meeting House .
Steve Sorensen from Salt Lake City volunteered his own time and knowledge to the festival. He said his knowledge has come through research and hands-on opportunities like this festival.
“It creates an appreciation for your country to realize what many people did day in and day out,” Sorensen said while he rolled cartridges for muskets to be fired later that day.
Sorensen was among dozens of other volunteers who spent the weekend reenacting the entire colonial experience, even down to time-period clothing and shelter for the weekend.
“The clothes we have we try to accurately portray, even in the actions we take, we try to do in a historical manner … we approach this as a chance to instruct,” Sorensen said.
Nate Crandall, a fifth grade teacher at Hidden Hollow Elementary, was one of 15 teachers from the Alpine school district who volunteered his time and knowledge on American history to those attending the festival. Crandall said the interaction with history is what makes the festival such a good experience.
“They get to do the history instead of just hear about it, ” Crandall said. ” This is my first one but I intend to do more, it’s been so much fun.”
Crandall was invited to lead the reenactment of the debate in the Old South Meeting House about the Boston Tea Party. His expertise on the topic led to the addition of this activity to the festival.
“I give a little background to kind of get them pumped up, then I distribute cards,” Crandall said. “It’s an interactive thing … They come to the front and get to share their piece, and we get to reenact what that meeting would have been like.”
Kalten Shafer, age nine, from Northridge Elementary, attended the festival with his family for the first time this year, but said he plans on attending again next year.
“We just thought we would check it out … we thought it would be cool to learn about the Revolution … it was even cooler then we thought it would be,” Shaffer said.