American Village opened Festival of Tulips on Presidents Day

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – American Village celebrated Presidents Day and opened its Festival of Tulips on Feb. 20.

Many smiling families came dressed in 18th century attire to participate in the day’s festivities. The replica buildings and historical actors brought the time period in which the first U.S. President served to life.

“Today we are celebrating George Washington’s birthday,” American Village communications officer Melanie Poole said. “Every day, we remind people what it means to be American.”

Children were enlisted in George Washington’s army, where they used broomsticks to mimic the loading and firing of a musket as a historical interpreter lead them. The colonial soldier loaded a blank round and fired his musket, releasing a cloud of smoke and a loud noise while the new recruits looked on in awe.

“I always enjoy seeing the children interact with our costumed historical interpreters,” Poole said.

At noon, there was a gathering at the steps of Washington Hall, which was inspired by Washington’s home in Mount Vernon. Washington and his wife addressed the crowd and invited them to enjoy refreshments in celebration of his birthday. The attendants had a chance to meet Washington inside soon after.

Throughout the day, students had the chance to meet more historical figures, explore the buildings and even play with replicas of toys from the 18th century.

Presidents Day was also the opening day of the Festival of Tulips. The American Village planted more than 70,000 tulips in December. Different beds will bloom at different times, producing a variety of colors to choose from. Many are already in bloom, thanks to unusually warm February weather, and visitors can walk through and take pictures as much as they like.

Admission to the Festival of Tulips is included in general admission to the village. Visitors can pay $1.50 per flower to pick their own tulips and take them home.

American Village is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and youth and free to veterans, active military and children 4 and under. Weekend admission is $5.

Check americanvillage.org for closures due to inclement weather. Call Jodie Wasyluka at 205-665-3535 extension 1045 for information on group tours.