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Re-enactors play Georgia signers of Declaration of Independence
Historical re-enactors Hugh Golson as Dr. Lyman Hall; Greg Starbuck as George Walton; and Bill McIntosh as Button Gwinnett sign the Declaration of Independence - September 13, 1999. Photo: Lynn Wright

Georgia Heritage Celebration in Savannah

The celebration of the founding of the colony of Georgia at Savannah on February 12, 1733, by James Edward Oglethorpe, has been a tradition among Georgians since 1734.

The Georgian Heritage Celebration began in 1965, at the suggestion of Mrs. Robertine McClendon Phillips. The main program took place in Washington Square. Leopold Adler II, Historic Savannah Foundation president was master of ceremonies. The day's events included a proclamation from the governor, a dramatic portrayal of Oglethrope and the Native American Tomochichi, colonial era music, and readings from a 1736 report to the Georgia Trustees.

During the next thirty years, the celebration focused on increasing awareness among Savannahians of their unique role in the nation's history. During the 1983 celebration, which also marked the 250th anniversary of the colony's founding, 14,000 costumed students participated in the festival procession. Among nationally prominent figures who have spoken during the Georgia Day Luncheon have been former President Jimmy Carter, Secretaries of the Department of the Interior Walter Hickel and William Ruckelshaus, and National Trust President Richard Moe.

Since 1997, the Georgia Heritage Celebration Day has been organized by the Georgia Historical Society, and expanded to encompass two weeks of activities that emphasize Georgia's history. The society works closely with the Savannah-Chatham Public Schools to promote the celebration, and to preserve the state's history and historical sites and documents through school programs. The celebration is sponsored by the City of Savannah, Department of Cultural Affairs, Leisure Services Bureau. In year 2000, the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Georgia also sponsored the celebration.

Documentation includes a history, brochures, program flyers, proclamations, student study guides, photographs, and a press kit.

Originally submitted by: Paul Coverdell, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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