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horsesboy

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I have not been to the event itself but am planning to see if I can book tickets for a night as it looks good from what I could see just walking around the outside of the grounds
 
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horsesboy

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@horsesboy and anyone else... Have you been to the CW lights event...


If so, opinions?
Finally got to the actual event tonight. More pictures later but VERY cool and we'll done if you can go before it ends this weekend go
 

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Finally got to the actual event tonight. More pictures later but VERY cool and we'll done if you can go before it ends this weekend go
Thank you so much! My brother and his husband arrive Saturday so I'll buy tickets for Sunday. Thank you again, @horseboy!
 
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What in the actual heck? The lights look cool but I would have never though that CW would do something like this. I assumed it was all lanterns lit by candles or bonfire.
 

horsesboy

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What in the actual heck? The lights look cool but I would have never though that CW would do something like this. I assumed it was all lanterns lit by candles or bonfire.
No they brought in an outside company to do it and it's all high quality lighting. I was told that they are using the same group that has done the San Francisco botanical gardens event for years.
 
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No they brought in an outside company to do it and it's all high quality lighting. I was told that they are using the same group that has done the San Francisco botanical gardens event for years.
No it does look well done, im just suprised the foundation allowed it since it dosent fit with colonial times.
 
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horsesboy

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As promised some more photos from the event.
 

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Apr 1, 2010
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No. Just no. This defies everything the foundation was founded upon and stands for. CWF has been failing CW for years now. CWF does crap like this whilst touting they are a historic area. Meanwhile, firing hundreds of seasoned trades journeymen and gutting or removing tons of historical trades displays. Plus, any respectable skilled tradesmen no longer wants to lower their standards, nor wear Halloween costumes, to work there. Hell, they pay "actors" to do street plays more that they pay skilled armory tradesmen that have years of experience and take months to build a single period correct musket.

CW has two profit centers, ticket sales and carriage rides. So, CWF comes up with ridiculous hair-brain ideas to charge extra for and all at the sacrifice and dignity of their founding father's mission. They continually bring up wanting to fence in CW, a public throughway, so they can make everyone pay to even just walk around outside.

They use to host hundreds of re-enactors in enormous encampments displaying the Continental Army life for Prelude to Victory and Under the Red Coat which brought in HUGE historical crowds. Plus thousands of musicians and spectators for Drummers Call. Now only Drummers Call is left and that hasn't happened in two years and could disappear next. Maybe they could just light up the empty fife and drum building , too. That is sure to make it all better.

So, the historical crowd won’t go there anymore because it’s now a cringingly painful farce. The modern crowd doesn’t go because they don’t care for history (what LITTLE history there is left to see). Then CWF struggles with junk like skating rinks and lights and wonders why attendance is so far down and their non-profit is bleeding money. Pathetic and in desperation.

“Colonial” Williamsburg is no longer the historical benchmark. Places actually interested in preserving and promoting history, like Fort Ticonderoga, have taken up the mantle. That is, unless you want to buy a plastic fife or CW t-shirt modeled after The Beatles Abby Road, both made in China.

/end rant.
 
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horsesboy

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No. Just no. This defies everything the foundation was founded upon and stands for. CWF has been failing CW for years now. CWF does crap like this whilst touting they are a historic area. Meanwhile, firing hundreds of seasoned trades journeymen and gutting or removing tons of historical trades displays. Plus, any respectable skilled tradesmen no longer wants to lower their standards, nor wear Halloween costumes, to work there. Hell, they pay "actors" to do street plays more that they pay skilled armory tradesmen that have years of experience and take months to build a single period correct musket.

CW has two profit centers, ticket sales and carriage rides. So, CWF comes up with ridiculous hair-brain ideas to charge extra for and all at the sacrifice and dignity of their founding father's mission. They continually bring up wanting to fence in CW, a public throughway, so they can make everyone pay to even just walk around outside.

They use to host hundreds of re-enactors in enormous encampments displaying the Continental Army life for Prelude to Victory and Under the Red Coat which brought in HUGE historical crowds. Plus thousands of musicians and spectators for Drummers Call. Now only Drummers Call is left and that hasn't happened in two years and could disappear next. Maybe they could just light up the empty fife and drum building , too. That is sure to make it all better.

So, the historical crowd won’t go there anymore because it’s now a cringingly painful farce. The modern crowd doesn’t go because they don’t care for history (what LITTLE history there is left to see). Then CWF struggles with junk like skating rinks and lights and wonders why attendance is so far down and their non-profit is bleeding money. Pathetic and in desperation.

“Colonial” Williamsburg is no longer the historical benchmark. Places actually interested in preserving and promoting history, like Fort Ticonderoga, have taken up the mantle. That is, unless you want to buy a plastic fife or CW t-shirt modeled after The Beatles Abby Road, both made in China.

/end rant.
My feelings exactly @BGW Family same with that ice rink and although I havent seen it myself the new asphalt road.
I agree with some of these points especially the loss of the historic trades. I think part of that is bad marketing on cwf's part. I remember years back when they lost the their saddlery pointing out that if they had been marketing and selling those products better on the open market that they likely could have kept it self financing for long time but they were closing not to aggressive do that. Yes I know they sell some stuff but they could be doing it allot more and using auctions and other stuff to do so more effectively.

But CW is in a very bad financial state right now most of which was caused by bad choice over the last 20 years on the resort side of the organization. They continue to dip further and further into their reserves each year. At the Same time other historical venues are also seeing declines so it's not just the balance at CW but an industry trend. Like it or not a back to basics pure history approach isn't going to fix it for them. So finding a mix of a modern and historical production is more or less a requirement right now. The use of modern lights to showcase the historic gardens while providing time period music from several of CW's music groups seems like a good balance to me. Especially given that the governor's garden parties that they would usually have at this time of year are a no go during the Covid times.

As for the paved roads that a hard one as they were getting so bad as to be significant safety hazards to man and animal and were not planned to look as they currently do when they started. It's really a shame that the topper they were going to use gets torn off by the horses hoofs and carriage wheels. Hopefully they find something else soon.
 
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So true. I hadn't thought about that. Good looks, evil soul sucking, and brains. You got it all.
 
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Zachary

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I actually love this and was planning to attend last Saturday when they were rained out.

Like @horsesboy, I think historical tourism is in dire straights right now and I applaud CW for experimenting with new, relatively unintrusive, nighttime programming to try to turn some additional profits. We can't make people visit CW, so apart from proping them up even more with tax dollars, this seems like one of the better outcomes to me.

(This comes from someone who has no problem gating CW and would support them becoming a full on theme park so take my opinion in that context. ?)
 
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horsesboy

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So true. I hadn't thought about that. Good looks, evil soul sucking, and brains. You got it all.
The Gazette has done a series of articles on the repave. Long story short the road was becoming a hazard which having taken more then my fair share of bad steps in it's potholes I will 110% agree with. the original repave plan was to do it last January and February during none peak visitation times then to go through and add a aggregate topper that would give it a brownish color pretty close to what had previously existed. They couldn't add that till the pavement had cured for about 6 months.vvBad weather and then Covid hit pushing the repave back till later in the year they repaved it toward the end of last spring. Last fall they did a test section with the aggregate topper unfortunately the horses and carriages tore through it and it just didn't hold up. The city and CW are working together to try and find a new solution as no one likes it but for now it is what it is.
 
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Thanks @horsesboy. Marched many a mile on the old road with a large rope drum. Quite treacherous. Hopefully, they'll come up with something carriage rugged and less jarring.
 
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horsesboy

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Thanks @horsesboy. Marched many a mile on the old road with a large rope drum. Quite treacherous. Hopefully, they'll come up with something carriage rugged and less jarring.
The topper is just an outer seal for coloring the base was done with heavy duty asphalt. The Gazette said the last repave was in 91 and that the were hoping to get another 20-30 years out of this one.
 
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I first visited CW about 35 years ago and loved it. At that time they had little Christmas-related programming, because that holiday was not celebrated during our Colonial era by Anglicans, it was considered a solemn season until First Night (now known as New Year's Eve) when a lot of marriages occurred. At that time, the only concessions to Christmas (at CW) were the wreaths on the various houses, pine roping on the Governor's palace and the constant reminder at the historical sites that Christmas was not celebrated during Colonial times.

Historic tradesmen were a-plenty as were many elaborate programs requiring large staffing which were really fun...anyone remember the family programs at the Powell House, adjacent to Christiana Campbell's which were incredibly immersive and illuminating and non well-attended due to the location, imo. We always visited it because, outside of the property behind the Randolph house which had Colonial toys to play with, it was the only area that consistently included children whether it was ironing clothes, setting a table, folding napkins grating sugar, washing dishes, or the ilk.

At that time they had 3 Colonial time period programs running depending on which day you went. They were as far as had been researched of the period. They were fully staffed and wonderful, they were apparently financially unsustainable. I applaud CW's efforts to expand their revenue base by exploring topics outside of their time period while still making the programs about the history of America. (This statement does, of course, not extend to the CW Lights event.) It seems like they have incorporated substantive children's programming into many more areas than the Powell House (which is currently closed.)

Even though their Christmas programming is not true to the Colonial period, I love it. They've done programs where you travel to various houses and see scenes through the years that could-have or did occur during the Christmas season (but not necessarily during Colonial times) including a visit to theTucker House where a German tutor introduced the first Christmas tree in Virginia. They have a wonderful Christmas tea at Christiana Campbell's. They have had a really good program with an actor explaining the differences between Yuletide in Virginia and England. I could go on, but there is a large amount of Christmas programming every year which is very elucidating and fun despite not being specific to the time, including a program they did in concert with Jamestowne that involved Native people, and Settlers. (If it is not something people would have done in Colonial times they always tell you.)

If you are only interested in total Colonial period historic accuracy in CW's programming it seems to not have been financially viable at their staffing levels. Due to their limited time period of representation the programs at the main historical sites, the Capitol, the Governor's Palace, the Magazine, the Randolph House, the Wythe House, were much the same for years on end, perhaps discouraging future visits. Every visit with a tradesperson in potentially educational and fun each visit. Their programs are still wonderful, oft-times even more so than in the full or redundant staffing days.

To get back to CW Lights, I can totally understand the people who think it's too time inappropriate for the venue, even Tivoli Gardens were sixty years past the original CW programming timeline. Given the financial needs of CW and also the fact that it's an after-hours event that is fully explained in the advertising, I'm okay with it and look forward to the Colonial music played. I've provided some (probably biased) data for debate on strict historical accuracy vs. financially expedient programming but I know there is a line some feel has been crossed and I don't have enough data to say 'is this worth it.' I think 'not being worth it' would indicate there's a net-loss for the program due to outrage and cancelled passes, or maybe just lingering doubts about their mission which could be attributed to future revenue loss. Of course, not enough tickets bought to cover the cost is an option as well, but I don't know if this is typically a revenue-sharing event or one where you pay for the installation, fees, etc. and reap all, if any profits.
 
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