Friday, May 16, 2014

World War II Weekend at Graeme Park

We have a little catching up to do as things get busier here during the spring. Before we start in on wedding season, I wanted to do a quick re-cap (with a TON of photos) of our World War II Weekend, held May 3-4th. While Graeme Park's historical significance and interpretation centers around Colonial America and the Revolutionary War, we've been presenting a World War II Weekend for the last several years - the fact is, Graeme Park, which historically included the Penrose-Strawbridge House and caretaker's cottage, has been inhabited pretty much since the Keith House was built in 1722, and Welsh Strawbridge, who owned the property from 1920 through his death in 1969, was required to register for the draft (at age 63 no less!).

We are also neighbors to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, which was a small airfield started in 1926 by Harold Pitcairn and purchased by the Federal government after the start of WWII under the threat of eminent domain. It was fear that the government would exercise the same rights here at Graeme Park when they wanted to expand the base, that lead the Strawbridges to donate the 42-acre parcel containing the Keith House to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1968.

So now that we've covered a little bit of "why" we have a WWII Weekend, the real fun lies in the "who" and the "what". 

First and foremost, we should start with a shout-out to our wonderful sponsors. Without them this would be a much less successful event for us as their support covered the cost of most of the entertainment and allowed us to keep admission prices reasonable. 

World War II Weekend Sponsor

Musical Entertainment Sponsor
Black Horse Auto Body Shop (

Iwo Jima Sponsor
Babylon Business Campus (

Normandy Beach Sponsors
Classic Pistol (
County Line Fence (

Battle of Midway Sponsors
Hanson Mechanical Restorations (
Susquehanna Bank (

Other Supporters
McDonalds, Hatboro/Horsham

Our next round of appreciation goes to the volunteers who served on the organizing committee, figuring out the logistics of the battle, contracting the reenactors, soliciting the sponsors and advertisers, and thinking of every detail to make the weekend run smoothly; 

the volunteers who showed up with a can-do attitude the day of the event to pitch in and do what they were assigned - whether they were selling hot dog tickets, parking cars, giving tours of the Keith House, or greeting visitors, they did so with a smile; 

the World War II veterans who made themselves available to speak with visitors about their experiences and with whom it was an honor and a privilege to spend the weekend; 

and lastly, the various reenactors and reenactment units who staged the battle, and set up wonderful displays of period collections, tents and vehicles, dressed in period uniforms, suits and dresses, and participated in the swing dance lessons, their attention to detail gave everything an authentic feel. 

In addition to a battle reenactment both days (the Germans won on Saturday, the Americans on Sunday), 

we had performances by the Ultimate Abbott and Costello Tribute Show throughout the weekend; 

a big band concert on Saturday and some patriotic music on Sunday; swing dance lessons; 

weapons demonstrations; tours of the historic Keith House; displays of period cars,

an honoring of veterans (those present and those passed on, represented by luminaries) by Representatives Tom Murt and Todd Stephens, and vendors selling military items.


We're planning to do it all over again next year, so make sure to mark your calendars for May 2-3, 2015. There truly is something for everyone.

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