The boom of a musket shot will echo through the Butler County woods again, much like it did 265 years ago, when young George Washington was almost killed by a “French Indian.” This time you can be there to watch…and enjoy some cherry pie. It happens at annual George Washington 1753 hike on Saturday, February 22, at the Jennings Environmental Education Center, a Pennsylvania State Park near the intersection of Pa. 528 and Route 8, just south of Slippery Rock PA.
Guided tours will bring hikers through the woods to learn about Washington’s 1753 mission and to see reenactors portraying Washington and his guide Christopher Gist, as well as the Native American the two encountered. The three will reenact the gunshot that could have ended Washington's life when he was just 21. The annual commemoration is sponsored by Washington’s Trail 1753, the Butler Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, Historic Harmony, Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, North Country Brewing, and Jennings Environmental Education Center.
To learn about the history surrounding Washington’s 1753 mission, hikers can sign up for a half-hour “history hike” that includes the reenactment of the attempt on Washington’s life that happened on Dec. 27, 1753 near today’s Evans City. Washington and Gist had spent the night before camped in the snow somewhere close to where Jennings is now located. There are six history hikes on the 22nd, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Other guided hikes that day include a 1-hour “nature walk” through the Jennings prairie and a 7-mile “long hike” led by members of the Butler Chapter of North Country Trail Association.
All hikers are encouraged to interact with additional French and Indian War reenactors who will set up many period artifacts in the Jennings main building. Cherry pie, cookies and cider, donated by North Country Brewing and the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, will also be available to participants.
Full details and the suggested donation for the event will be posted on the Jennings website after Jan. 1. Participants need to reserve their hike times by Feb. 20th at the state park website. Go to events.dcnr.pa.gov, then search “Cherry Pie”. This will take you to the page to reserve hike times. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. Exhibits and the reenactor display will close about 2 pm.
Celebrate George Washington’s 288th birthday, and his close brush with death, at the George Washington/Cherry Pie Hike on Saturday, February 22, 2020.