New York, NY— On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the American Revolutionaries at Yorktown, VA, effectively ending the American War of Independence. To commemorate this event and celebrate America’s rich military heritage, W. Britain has teamed with Osprey Publishing and Casemate Publishing to organize the first-annual Military History Weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia. It will be a two-day affair, October 17-18, at the Hospitality House in downtown Williamsburg.
“We have felt for a long time that fans of military history need an event that bridges the different segments of the hobby, notes W. Britain general manager, Richard Walker. “In the one corner you have ‘metal heads’ like me who paint and collect toy soldiers. In the other you have Ph.D. historians who chase down things like the names of General Washington’s body guard. And in between you have reenactors, wargamers, and armchair historians. There are plenty of shows that serve each of these groups separately. We hope that our event will be the kind of ‘big tent’ under which everyone can come together.”
It is the responsibility of show manager, Larry Weindorf, to carry out the vision of the show’s organizers. Says Weindorf, “One thing that I feel strongly about is making this a show that will be welcoming to the whole family. To that end we will have a tranquility suite with chocolate and wine pairings and full English tea. We will also have activities for children such as a ‘make and take’ area where kids can learn how to paint toy soldiers and build military models.” A variety of vendors will be on hand for the weekend, selling military history-related products. “There will be book publishers, toy soldier dealers, sutlers [those who sell gear for reenactors], remote-control vehicle dealers, and military memorabilia merchants,” says Walker.
More importantly, the organizers have announced a number of non-retail related events for the show. There will be vintage WWII-era military vehicles, living historians, and several WWII veterans, including a member of the “Band of Brothers.” In addition, there will be someone on hand each day to help attendees evaluate their military memorabilia. “It will be a bit like Antiques Roadshow,” says Walker. “We’re asking attendees to bring one or two heirlooms for evaluation (no guns or explosives please) by a military relics expert that will be on site.” “We also plan to have on hand an expert in family history,” says Casemate CEO, David Farnsworth. “Jonathan Gawne has written a book called ‘Finding Your Father’s War’ that explains and shares the techniques he uses to research archives, libraries, veteran associations and myriad other sources of information to track down the wartime career of an individual. Attendees will be able to sit down with Jonathan and receive tips for researching their own ancestor’s military service.” A range of publishers will be on hand.
In addition to Casemate, which publishes a wide array of operational histories and militaria collectible guides, Osprey will have a display of its new and bestselling reference books. There will also be a representative of Concorde publishing, which specializes in how-to books that aid modelers, painters, and wargamers in their respective hobbies. Attendees are also invited to participate in a dinner gala on Saturday evening. A veteran of the 101st Airborne who was at the WWII battles of D-Day, Market Garden, and The Bulge, Col. Edward D. Shames, will give a keynote address. In addition all attendees will receive free a custom figurine from W. Britain. There will also be a silent auction during the gala.
Tickets for the event are $46.00 per person. Entry from 12:00 PM-6:00 PM Saturday and 10:00 AM-4:30 PM Sunday is $5.00 for adults and families (up to 6 people). Entry fee is good for both days. Children under 16 enter free. Veterans and active military enter free. Osprey and W. Britain club members also enter free.
More information about the event and advance ticket purchases can be obtained at (888) 771-5576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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