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Grand Illumination Lights Up Williamsburg
By Jim Newtown

GIW imageDuring colonial times events that were especially noteworthy were celebrated by, what came to be known as, "illuminations”.. fireworks and the firing of guns and cannons. This tradition was revived in 1934 to celebrate the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. In the beginning the celebration consisted of little more than the displaying of candles in the windows of the restored buildings. But, over the years, the celebration grew and grew to become what it is known for today...an occasion marked by parades, bands, food, entertainment and, of course, a grand fireworks display. This years celebration was no exception.

At 4:00 pm last Sunday the spectacular program got underway. Various venues provided a great setting for local entertainers to perform their specialties. On the porch of the Raleigh Tavern holidays classics were performed by the William and Mary Gentlemen of the College. On the Capital North Stoge the William and Mory Appalachian Music Ensemble performed traditional Appalachian mountain music. At the large Polace Green Stage could be found the Truetone Honeys singing their swing era hits. True to tradition, there was a celebration of popular 18th Century music performed by Colonial Musicians as well as a program of hand bell pieces by the Westminster Ringers. Seasonal favorites could be heard being rendered by the truly professional Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drums. The Palace Green Stage also provided a venue for those wanting to see the spooky "Goodwin and the Ghost” a Williamsburg Christmas tale.

At 7:00 pm everyone stopped what they were doing and turned their eyes upward to catch the magnificent display of fireworks that began in various locations throughout Colonial Williamsburg. The display lasted almost a full 30 minutes and left all in attendance gasping in wonder. A fitting climax to a great annual event.


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