Jun 07, 2023

William Arnold Founders Day Festival

Captain William Arnold's historic log home in Williamstown will be the site of the June 10 Founders Day Festival.

Take a stroll back in time at the William Arnold Founders Day Festival in Williamstown on June 10. From 12:00-5:00 p.m., the free event will feature live demonstrations of early American frontier skills, a cannon shoot, children's toys and games, gospel singing and other music.

The William Arnold Founders Day Festival will take place at the log home of Revolutionary War Captain William Arnold, located at 224 South Main Street across from the Justice Center.

There are plenty of reasons to honor the memory of William Arnold. In addition to serving in the Revolutionary War and becoming a personal friend of General Lafayette, Arnold contributed much to the history of Grant County.

He came to Kentucky in 1783, where he helped defend the frontier as the pioneers struggled to get a foothold in the wilderness. He was one of only a handful of settlers when Williamstown was founded. (His log cabin, however, has been moved from its original site.)

Upon Grant County's 1820 separation from Pendleton County, Arnold became its first sheriff. He helped organize Williamstown's first educational establishment, Grant Seminary, and donated the land for the county's first public buildings. He also gave away timber and stone for home building and free firewood.

The William Arnold Founders Day Festival honors his memory and provides a peek into what life was like in early Williamstown. Event organizer Lavon Powell said she has lots of help bringing the event to fruition. Members of the Grant County Historical Society as well as other local volunteers offer their time and talents to make the annual festival a reality.

Retired Sgt. Major Jimmy Thorne, who spent three decades serving the United States military in Vietnam and world-wide, will be in charge of the cannon shoot, which takes place from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Colton Simpson, who wears many hats, including that of Grant County Historical Society President, will be in charge of the gospel singing. Simpson will be singing, as will Williamstown Mayor Mark Christopher. Alann Feldman will be taking a break from tax services to play the dulcimer during the afternoon's festivities.

Powell said that the festival's live demonstrations will continue throughout the afternoon.

Reclaimed Ranch, which rescues fur and wool-bearing animals such as llamas, alpacas, sheep and angora rabbits, will be bringing some of their rabbits and spinning the fur into yarn.

Chair caning and plant identification will be demonstrated by Judy Mullins. Powell also hopes to have leather working and quilting demonstrations.

Samantha and Matthew Peterson will be showing 21st century children how 18th century entertained themselves without electronic devices.

Relative newcomers to Grant County, the Petersons have already become active members of the community. In addition to teaching kids how to play historically accurate games, they will be bringing a collection of frontier-era toys.

Make plans to come out this Saturday to celebrate Williamstown's early history and get a taste of Grant County's past.

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