An American Legend Joins America's 400th Anniversary - Virginia Announces Nation's First Ever 'Pocahontas Family Festival' June 2 & 3

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America's 400th Anniversary celebrations, taking place throughout the country in 2007, have just gained a major historical VIP, an important new event and a whole lot of fun! Gloucester, Virginia, near 1607 Jamestown, announced it is hosting America's first-ever "Pocahontas Family Festival," Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, to celebrate the world's most famous Indian Princess, who was born in what is now Gloucester. The festival features a living Native American village, a replica of John Smith's boat, the unveiling of a giant mural honoring Pocahontas and a themed street chalk contest. It is free, takes place rain or shine, and is for all children and adults.

Pocahontas' People: Past and Present.

America's 400th Anniversary celebrations, taking place throughout Virginia and the rest of the nation in 2007, have just gained a major historical VIP, an important new event and a whole lot of fun. Especially for families. Historic Gloucester, Virginia, near the site of the 1607 Jamestown settlement, announced it is hosting America's first-ever "Pocahontas Family Festival," Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, to celebrate the world's most beloved and documented Indian Princess.

Native American Village, Giant Mural and John Smith's Boat

The festival will feature the unveiling of a giant mural honoring Pocahontas and a themed street chalk contest. It also will include a living Native American village, a replica of John Smith's boat, children's authors, book signings, music and regional cuisine. The festival is free and takes place rain or shine. It is for all children and adults. This is a two-day family tribute to Pocahontas, who was born in the Gloucester area. Her ties to the region have made her an American legend. The festival will take place at Gloucester's Main Street Center and the adjacent Main Branch Gloucester Library.

"We are excited to be hosting the first-ever Pocahontas Family Festival, and feel it is a perfect, fun and kid-friendly way for historic Gloucester to help America celebrate its 400th birthday," said Jennifer Crittenden, executive director of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, a festival sponsor. "In just one incredible weekend, in one great place, people will enjoy three of Virginia's most important contributions to our nation: history, art and culture."

The Pocahontas Family Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 2nd, with the opening of the Living Native American Village, "Pocahontas' People: Past and Present." Children will step back in time to 1607 and see what it was like to live as Pocahontas did. The dramatic outdoor village features authentic interactive exhibits by Shirley Little Dove Custalow-McGowan, of the Mattaponi Tribe, full-sized Native American structures and hands-on trade demonstrations (Saturday only).

An Ambassador to Two Cultures

"Pocahontas was an ambassador to two cultures, and we need her lessons of love and acceptance now more than ever," said Shirley Little Dove. "She was the first of our people to read English. She taught John Smith the Algonquian language. She had great insight and was not judgmental. Pocahontas bridged the gap between all of our people."

Also at 10 a.m. Saturday, near the Native American village, visitors will enjoy a full-sized replica of John Smith's boat, the "Explorer." Costumed interpreters will discuss Smith's exploration through the James River and Gloucester County waters (both days). Next door at 10 a.m., the Gloucester Public Library invites children to "Set Sail This Summer" as it launches "Summer Reading Program 2007" (both days). The event features children's crafts, a reading program registration station, local authors, book signings and a costumed 17th-century "London Gentleman."

Mural Unveiling: "The Life & Legend of Pocahontas"

The Pocahontas Family Festival features the much-anticipated unveiling -- at 11 a.m. Saturday -- of the giant 150-by-20-foot (3,000 square feet) original outdoor mural, "The Life & Legend of Pocahontas," by international mural artist Michael Kirby. The unveiling ceremony will feature keynote speaker Dan Roberts, creator and host of "A Moment in Time" on public radio, and remarks by artist Michael Kirby. Also on hand will be Native American dancers, Williamsburg's "Flute Frenzy" Youth Flute Choir, and the 4th Grade Choir of Virginia's Bethel Elementary School, singing a special 2007 Jamestown song.

A native of Baltimore, Kirby's murals and "sidewalk masterpieces" have appeared around the world, from the walls of Rome and Milan, in Italy, to the streets of Mazatlan, Mexico, and Wausau, Wisconsin. Sponsored by the Cook Foundation and the Main Street Preservation Trust, the mural decorates the entire exterior wall of the Gloucester Library's Main Branch.

Chalk Fest 2007: "Pocahontas - A Virginia Princess"

One of the other highlights of the Pocahontas Family Festival is "Chalk Fest 2007," where people of all ages are invited to "paint a piece of history" and decorate Main Street Center, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. The theme of the event, which runs through Sunday, is "Pocahontas: A Virginia Princess."

Chalk Fest 2007 participants use street chalk to fill 150 squares and rectangles with their own personal works of art related to Pocahontas. In the tradition of Europe's beloved street artists, the event takes place right on the parking lot at Gloucester's Main Street Center. Chalk Fest 2007 is sponsored by the Cook Foundation, Main Street Association, Main Street Preservation Trust, and Murals of Baltimore.

The festival is open to all media. A special media-only area will be set aside during Saturday's mural ceremony, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Contact:
Jennifer Crittenden of the Main Street Preservation Trust
Phone 804-695-0700
Cell 804-832-5199

Tim Andrews
Phone 757-259-1484
Cell 757-879-3066

For additional information about the Pocahontas Family Festival or Chalk Fest 2007, contact:

Gloucester Main Street Association
6523 Main Street, Suite 2
Gloucester, VA 23061
Phone 804-695-0700
Or visit http://www.gloucester-virginia.org.

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