Historic church to hold living history event

Published 10:54 pm Friday, August 23, 2019

By Rachel Wartian


Smithfield is the home not only to the world’s oldest ham but also to the oldest brick church in Virginia, St. Luke’s Historic Church and Museum.

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For the past three years during the second weekend of September, St. Luke’s Historic Church and Museum has held a living history event. This day is full of activities to take guests back in time to the 17th century.

The event will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 7 at St. Luke’s Historic Church and Museum, 14477 Benn’s Church Blvd., Smithfield. Admission is $8, which includes the tour and all other activities.

It will cover history including Bacon’s Rebellion and violence between settlers and Native Americans.

To keep the theme alive, re-enactors will be there to create the proper atmosphere.

“The re-enactments are the texture though the living history event representing what the area would have looked like in this period,” said Todd Ballance, executive director at St. Luke’s Historic Church and Museum.

Re-enactors from across the country will demonstrate various events that occurred at that time in the Isle of Wight area. It will include re-enactments from Bacon’s Rebellion, Dutch Marines, Native American interpretations, and other notable happenings of that century. Weapons demonstrations will also take place during the day.

At the top of every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a tour of St. Luke’s Church will take place. Even though it is the oldest church in Virginia, there is a working air conditioner to keep tourists cool no matter the heat index.

Along with the historical events, an archeological dig will take place for both children and adults. These pits provide an opportunity to learn archeological techniques. As the participants find artifacts from the time, they can piece together what it may have been and why it is there.

“Families can feel free to pack a picnic, blanket and Frisbees to enjoy a lunch on our field. They could also take this chance to enjoy our new nature trail,” said Ballance.

There will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy at this living history event.