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Celebrate George Washington's 280th Birthday at His Home, Mount Vernon!

Wed, 12/14/2011

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2011
Digital images, recipes & new cookbook available upon request

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203
mwood@mountvernon.org

Celebrate George Washington's 280th Birthday at His Home, Mount Vernon!

Three Days of Special Events, New Exhibition Opens, Historic Cooking Demonstration from Chefs

Mount Vernon, VA – George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, celebrates our first president’s birthday with three days of special events including an outdoor cooking demonstration by celebrated chefs, a new food exhibition with more than 125 objects from the Washingtons’ kitchen, a surprise birthday celebration for “George Washington”,  a book signing with PBS’s A Taste of History host Chef Walter Staib, and much more!  Saturday and Sunday events are included in Estate admission, and admission to all events on Monday, February 20, events are FREE in honor of George Washington’s birthday!

Saturday, February 18

All events are included in admission: $15/adult, $7/child, 5 and under free.


9 a.m: NEW EXHIBITION OPENS: Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington

Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ kitchen through the new exhibition, Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington. On display inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum, this temporary exhibition celebrates food at Mount Vernon and Martha Washington’s role as early America’s premier hostess.  Following food from the Estate’s field to kitchen to table, visitors will see recipes and cookbooks that Martha treasured, pots that simmered in her kitchen, and fine tablewares that made Mount Vernon’s dining room fit for a president. For the first time ever, visitors to the Museum will experience scents as they explore the exhibition - smelling cinnamon, coffee, herbs and warm bread.  Open through Summer 2013.

9 a.m. – 12  p.m: Hoecake Cook-Off: Award-Winning Chefs Cook George Washington’s Favorite Breakfast
For the first time ever, watch as notable chefs create their own interpretations of George Washington’s favorite breakfast in front of the first president’s home! Four chefs will cook hoecakes over an open fire and present their dishes to “General Washington” at 12 p.m. The participating chefs are:

Chef  Cathal Armstrong  –  Restaurant Eve
Chef David Guas – Bayou Bakery
Chef Christophe Poteaux – Bastille Restaurant
Chef Robert Wiedmaier – BRABO

Mount Vernon’s staff will cook samples of George Washington favorite breakfast, “hoecakes swimming in butter and honey”  (while supplies last) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Taste one of Mount Vernon’s sample hoecakes and learn more about the 21st-century interpretations created by the award-winning chefs while mingling with “George Washington”!

1:30 p.m: George Washington’s Surprise Birthday Party!
Meet characters from the 18th century as they help visitors surprise “General Washington” with rousing birthday cheers! At “George Washington’s Surprise Birthday Party”, the first president will be presented with gifts which he will describe and react to during a speech to his birthday visitors.

Sunday, February 19

All events are included in admission: $15/adult, $7/child, 5 and under free.

9 a.m. – 12 p.m: Breakfast with “George Washington”
George Washington’s favorite breakfast was “hoecakes swimming in butter and honey.”  Join “General Washington” for a sample of this meal (while supplies last) from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

1:30 p.m: George Washington’s Surprise Birthday Party!
Meet characters from the 18th century as they help visitors surprise General Washington with rousing birthday cheers! At “George Washington’s Surprise Birthday Party”, the first president will be presented with gifts which he will describe and react to during a speech to his birthday visitors.

Monday, February 20

FREE ADMISSION (We expect more than 10,000 visitors)
8 a.m. – 4 p.m: George Washington’s 280th Birthday Celebration

Celebrate the national observance of George Washington’s birthday by visiting his home and burial site FREE of charge on this day.  The traditional wreathlaying ceremony takes place at Washington's Tomb followed by patriotic music and military performances on the Bowling Green.  Join characters from the 18th century as they help visitors surprise General Washington with rousing birthday cheers! At “George Washington’s Surprise Birthday Party”, the first president will be presented with gifts which he will describe and react to during a speech to his birthday visitors. The birthday festivities begin one hour earlier this year – the Estate will open to visitors at 8 a.m.!  “General Washington” will be on the grounds to greet visitors and receive birthday wishes all day.

Book Signing By Emmy Award Winning Chef Walter Staib
Chef Walter Staib of Philadelphia’s City Tavern and Emmy award-winning host of PBS’s “A Taste of History” will sign books and DVDs in The Shops at Mount Vernon throughout the weekend and Monday holiday.  Visitors to the new Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington exhibition can watch an eight-minute video in which the award-winning chef prepares a sturgeon in Mount Vernon’s kitchen.   Please visit www.atasteofhistory.org for more information about Chef Walter Staib.

New Book Available for Sale: Dining with the Washington
Mount Vernon is serving up a fascinating new book exploring the menus, diets, and styles of entertaining that characterized the beloved home of the nation’s foremost founding father. Dining with the Washingtons: Historic Recipes, Entertainment, and Hospitality from Mount Vernon is a beautifully bound, hardcover 236-page volume packed with compelling expert essays and recipes that capture the flavors of early America.  Dining with the Washingtons is priced at $35 and is available at The Shops at Mount Vernon, online at www.MountVernon.org, and in bookstores, specialty shops, and online retailers throughout the nation.

For more information and to use Mount Vernon’s helpful new trip planner,  please visit www.MountVernon.org.
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