HARVARD – Hundreds channeled their revolutionary spirit on Saturday and transformed the Starline Factory in Harvard into a 1770s delegation hall to honor the Founding Fathers.
People throughout the area donned outfits styled off the American Revolution period, danced like it was 1775 and witnessed a re-enactment of the second Virginia Convention, where Patrick Henry famously declared "give me liberty, or give me death" nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago.
"If we have to move forward, we need to know where we came from," organizer Roger Erber told the crowd after the re-enactment. "That's the point of today."
Christ's Church of Capron hosted the two-day "Liberty Day" event. It was meant to unite Christians from area suburbs and allow attendees to reflect on the sacrifices Henry and others throughout American history made in the name of liberty.
The event kicked off Friday night with a concert from Celtic singer Charlie Zahm and fiddler Tad Marks.
On Saturday afternoon, Paul Jehle, founder of Heritage Institute Ministries, spoke at the Liberty Day conference and discussed United States foreign policy. Later in the evening, roughly 400 attendees celebrated the American Revolution period with a historical fashion show, period dancing and historical re-enactments.
The annual Liberty Day event this year built on past success, Erber said.
The event started more than a decade ago inside the Erber family living room, where Erber, his wife and eight children recited speeches and songs to celebrate Henry.
The head of Christ's Church of Capron and his family eventually opened the event to the public around 2004, bringing in formal speakers for the event.
Liberty Day has an educational focus, Erber said. But it also can stir emotions.
Erber had to hold back tears when addressing the crowd – something he's been known to do when talking about Henry and the Founding Fathers, he said.
"There are so many things that we see in our country right now that are out-of-kilter. Nobody seems to know what's the right thing to do," Erber said. "If you look back to what the Founding Fathers told us, we can get some guidance."