American Village holds 25th annual Independence Day celebration

Published 3:28 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

MONTEVALLO – The American Village in Montevallo celebrated its 25th annual Independence Day Celebration to the tune of thousands of guests on Thursday, July 4.

Opening its gates to the public at 11 a.m., this year’s event featured a list of more than 50 activities that provided all in attendance with a day filled with patriotic fervor and historically themed family fun.

“This year was an extremely successful event,” said Melanie Poole, communications officer for American Village. “We had a great turnout this year, and all of our vendors were very happy. We are already looking forward to doing it again next year.”

Throughout the day, guests were able to observe a series of live demonstrations that showcased topics such as colonial era medicine, crime and punishment, fashion, espionage and toys and entertainment. Among those displays were appearances made by a series of significant historical figures that are paramount to America’s founding story.

“I think the public loves (meeting) our patriots,” Poole said. “It was standing room only for most of the vignettes with Thomas Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Phyllis Wheatley and Patrick Henry. I think all of those are crowd favorites.”

Crowds also gathered around and explored the numerous static sites around the property, including the Randall Museum, The National Veterans Shrine, The Freedom Trail and a recreation of the White House Oval Office as it appeared during the Truman administration.

Poole also made mention of another crowd favorite that draws some of the most eyes each year—the reenactment of the 1775 Battle at Concord Bridge.

“Of course, the battle at the bridge is always a big draw,” Poole said. “That is put together by Christopher Long who has been with the American Village since day one. He works with a couple of groups of local reenactors and they portray the patriots on one side of the bridge and the Hessians—who were hired by the British—on the other side.”

Prior to the reenactment’s performances, both side’s forces set up military encampments that could be visited and toured by the guests. There they were able to learn about the daily happenings of an era appropriate military unit and observe the soldiers as they prepared for the battle.

With the sun high in the sky, the patriots then marched toward the bridge on one side and the Hessians marched from the opposing side. As the battle commenced, the crowd watched from along the hillside overlooking the bridge while sitting in the shade offered by the area’s pine trees.

“There’s a lot of noise, smoke and musket fire that ensues,” Poole said.

Over the course of the day, families were also able to enjoy other hands on activities, which included cornhole, hula hoops, Jenga, sidewalk chalk art, a petting zoo and the American Village Independence Day Ball.

In terms of food and refreshments, a total of 15 food trucks provided food items ranging from hot dogs, burgers, po’boys and barbeque alongside other treats like shaved ice, ice cream and lemonade which helped quench the thirst brought on by the day’s heat.

All of these activities culminated at the end of the evening with American Village’s much loved and premier firework show. As in past years, this year’s show was organized and put forth by the organization itself who obtained the fireworks from vendor Southern Sky Fireworks.

“The fireworks show lasted 25 minutes this year and they fired off 250 shells,” Poole said.

Although the event always serves as American Village’s largest event of the year, this year carried a special significance by marking the venue’s 25th annual iteration of the event.

Several local Montevallo and Shelby County groups assisted The American Village in the presentation of the big event, including the Montevallo Community Band, local public safety services and the Police Explorers Post 2450. Participants in the American Village Junior Interpreters program also aided in the event by partaking in many of the day’s demonstrations that served as their last major contribution to the program.

“We want to extend our thanks to everyone who came out and to our city,” Poole said. “We also want to thank the Montevallo Police Department, Montevallo Fire and Rescue and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Everyone was extremely helpful in letting us pull off this huge event and they’ve helped us every year.”