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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
September 18, 2013     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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September 18, 2013

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center stage e "7 By JESSICA WIANT Special to the Spirit he story of abolitionist John Brown is perhaps Jefferson County's most famous. In the fall of 1859, Brown aimed to take the slavery question into his own hands, leading a ragtag band to Harpers Ferry, where he hoped to seize the federal arsenal, arm slaves in the surrounding countryside and start a rebellion. Want to go? Wllll|: Julia Davis' play Things did not go as "The Anvil" planned. Wl a: 7:30 Friday Before the year and Saturday; 3 p~. ended, he'd been Sunday captured, tried and Where:. Jefferson Co: hanged. Courthouse, 100 E. Washington St Charles Those final two Town, months of Brown's life How retie-h: $15 for riveted attention across adults, $ the United States and around the globe, and historians say put in motion divisions that would spark the Civil War less than a year and a half later. "It was pretty much the one time the whole world was looking at us," explains Joe Yates, a longtime resident of Jefferson County who will produce, direct and star in "The Anvil," the 1961 play by the late Julia Davis that tells Brown's tale. Yates said he wants audience members to feel like they're actually seeing history unfold. "When you come up to the steps of the courthouse it's like you're going back in time," Yates says. The play is based on actual transcripts and oth- er written records from the trial and the events sur- rounding it. "The Anvil" will be staged at the Jeffer- son County Courthouse, though the building where Brown's trial was held was burned during the Civil War. Thomas Hovenden painted "The Last Moments of John Brown" tan Museum of Art. The current courthouse was built on the same plot. "I look at this as a unique opportunity," Yates said. "We are very, very lucky to be able to do that, and people are lucky to be able to see it. It's amazing to be able to use that space." "The Anvil" also lends itself to community theater, Yates said. Because actual Jefferson County residents volunteer to portray the characters, the action of the play seems authentic. "That's what makes it real," he says. Many of the actors have been Julia Davis, who died in 1993 in Ranson at age 92, wrote "The Anvil" as part of the centennial celebra- tion of West Virginia's statehood. JEFFERSON COUNTY HISTORIC LANDMARKS COMMISSION in 1884. It's now part of the collection at the Metropoli- History lovers can get their photos taken with an actor portraying town Saturday during the annual Charles Town Heritage Festival. ROBERT SNYDER George Washington down- Bro play j CHARLES TOWN - Time flies when you're having fun; they say, and organizers : of the Charles Town Heritage Festival have all kinds of fun planned as the 227-year-old city celebrates its past this weekend. Besides the chance to see "The Anvil," festival-goers can enjoy live music, food, shopping, workshops, a scavenger hunt, a pie bakeoff, games and activities for kids, andmore. Actors portraying Charles and George Washington also will be on hand. Charles Town is named for Charles, the first president's youngest full brother, who founded the city in 1786. The day's musical lineup begins at 10:30 a.m. with a performance from the historic Wainwright Baptist Church's mass choir. The Acoustic Blues Revue performs at 11:45 a.m. and Gina Desimone and the Moaners take the stage at 1 p.m. Rounding out the day will be Billy Thompson at 2:15 p.m. and then bluegrass from the Back Creek Valley Boys starting at 3!30 p.m. A supersized Charles Town Fahners Market also is part of the festiva! lineup. Instead of the market's normal arrange- ment along the 100 block of Samuel Street from 8 aan. to noon, vendors will be sell- ing fresh produce, baked goods, plants and other wares all along Washington Street throughout the entire festival, from I0 aan. to 5 p.m. Booths selling food and other goods also will be set up on Washington Street. Com- munity groups such as the Potomac Val- ley Audubon Society and Animal Welfare of Jefferson County also will man displays during the festival. A Farm to Fork work- shop is on tap as well, along with a Jeffer- son County History Tent. The special events continue on Sunday, with the annual Parade of Horses set to be- gin at 2 p.m. on Washington Street with horse-drawn carriages, horses, donkeys, ponies and mules. Organizers did cancel a festival kickoff concert that had been set for Friday evening at Jefferson Memorial Park. A full schedule of events and other infor- mation can be found online at ctheritagef- - Christine Miller Ford