Perhaps you were able to attend one of the Mesa, Arizona, George Washington Birthday Celebrations. I was the organizer, the planner, the idea man, and the chief fundraiser and donor. They were held for four years in a row on Presidents Day Monday. The attendance increased each year until the crowd of 2,500 was simply too much for our location. The Mesa School District offered to let me continue the event at any of the Mesa schools. However, I declined. I knew that would ruin the neighborhood feeling of the annual event.
Families would stroll with their youngsters, even if the youngsters were in baby strollers, to come to the big birthday party. The Boy Scouts earned several Eagle Scout awards by helping with the advertising, setting up and clean up.
We had games, music, entertainment, speeches, museum type displays about the founding of our nation, including a mock up of Independence Hall. George Washington was there to blow out the candles on his birthday cake. Martha joined him each year.
Also in the crowd was Benjamin Franklin, who gave the weather report for one of the local TV stations from our location. Patrick Henry restated most of his “Give Me Liberty” speech, complete with the stabbing dagger. Author, Steven Allen, (that’s me) gave a short patriotic speech, handed out ‘whistle pops” in remembrance of his story about Franklin, and was the M.C. Uncle Sam was there in costume, as were several Sons of the American Revolution.
There was pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, pie, and other delectables. Pony rides, a real Fire Engine, a jumping house, and other games were available for the kids, at no cost. The weather was always gorgeous on Presidents Day in Arizona. It was great fun. It was always the largest George Washington Birthday Celebration in the State of Arizona. We hated to see it end.
“I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” –George Washington.