Celebrate America’s independence early with a Revolution re-enactment in Kew Gardens

If the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” has piqued your interest in the American Revolution, then head out to Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens next month for a day of free events marking one of the war’s biggest battles.

On Saturday, May 14, the cemetery will hold a living history program complete with a recreation of a Revolutionary War encampment, a parade of war re-enactors and a patriotic concert. It marks the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Long Island, which was fought between the British and Continental armies across much of northern Brooklyn nearly two months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The living history program aims to depict the diverse group of individuals who fought in the Continental Army, under the direction of General George Washington, as the original Thirteen Colonies sought to win its independence from Great Britain. As such, the actors participating in the program are members of the Assembly of Historical Interpreters representing Irish, Scotch-Irish, German, African, Native American and Hispanic soldiers who served.

Some of the actors will set up a Revolutionary War encampment on a grassy knoll near the cemetery’s entrance at the corner of Kew Gardens Road and Lefferts Boulevard. Guests will be allowed to examine the site and interact with the interpreters. The encampment will be open beginning at 10 a.m.; there will also be cooking and military demonstrations.

At 12:30 p.m., the Pines Bridge Monument Committee will perform a skit based on the war and inform residents about efforts to erect a monument to the First Rhode Island Regiment of Foot. The regiment is considered to be the first African-American regiment to serve in defense of the United States of America.

The troops will then go on parade through the cemetery beginning at 2:30 p.m. with the general public. They will head over to the Old Red Oak, a large tree believed to be more than 225 years old, where a ceremony and musket salute will be held.

Near the oak, one of the actors will portray a soldier buried nearby who lived through the American Revolution and fought in the War of 1812, which is considered as the nation’s second war of independence.

The Revolutionary War camp will close at 4 p.m., and the public is invited to head over to the Center at Maple Grove Cemetery at 4:30 p.m. for a free concert featuring Colonial music.

For more information on the festivities, click here or call the Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery at 347-878-6614.

In the event of rain, the festivities will be held the following day, May 15.