Last Monday on August 18, I, along with our Lost Colony Genealogist, Jennifer Shepherd, Researcher George Ray, and a special guest, Mary Fulford Moore, a strong contender for possibly being a Lost Colony descendent of Richard Berry, participated in the 421st celebration of Virginia Dare's Birthday at Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island, the place of her birth.
The faire is an annual event, always celebrated on the actual date of Virginia Dare's birth. The event is sponsored by The Roanoke Island Historical Association, and is held at the actual location of Virginia's birth, Ft. Raleigh on Roanoke Island, Manteo, NC.
We were set up in the brand new Costume Shop, backstage at The Waterside Theatre, where the oldest outdoor drama in the US, The Lost Colony, is held ever summer. As you know, last September the costume shop caught on fire and the building, along with many costumes, many of which were very old, were burned. Through the generosity of numerous people and businesses, the costumes were replaced, and the show was ready to open on schedule for the 2008 season. By being in the shop, we were able to watch the costume workers as they repaired and put finishing touches on costumes for the night's performance. It also gave us an opportunity to talk with the cast and crew. who enjoyed coming over to our table to learn more about our research on The Lost Colony. Costumed guides brought several large groups through the building, so we got to share our work with many people. This year, the events were set up throughout the actual theatre area, and included activities for children such as face painting, story telling, etc. Other events were backstage tours of the theatre, stage combat demonstrations, cabaret style performances of Broadway shows by the Lost Colony cast, and the movie, The Lost Colony. The Elizabethan Gardens were open with free admission, and there was also a a session on The History of Roanoke Island. The event was complete with even a birthday cake and ice cream for Virginia Dare's 421st birthday ! We decided that we were in the best location possible, however, as we were in air conditioning and were able to spread out a nice picnic lunch and eat in cool and comfort !
That night, we attended the drama and the new costumes are absolutely spectacular ! I have been going to Roanoke Island for 50 years, and I can say that this year's performance was absolutely the best ever ! We also attended, by invitation only, the end of season cast party immediately after the drama performance. This was my second time at this event, and the food was once again as spectacular as the performance !The party is set up backstage, right on the decking on Roanoke Sound, and it is always a magical experience !
I am also glad to share with everyone that The Roanoke Island Historical Association is very supportive of our work. They are very interested in what we are doing and how we are going about it !
Maybe some of you can start making plans now to attend this exciting event for 2009 ! I think you would enjoy the activities, and if you have never been to Roanoke Island, this would be a great opportunity ! Now you have a year's advance notice to start planning, so I hope to see you there on August 18, 2009 ! By the way, we were invited to be participants again, so maybe you can join us then !