2019 George Washington Birthnight Ball

Just got back from the George Washington Birthnight Banquet & Ball at the Famous Gadsby's Tavern Museum in Alexandria, Virginia. Though I have previously attended formal events at Gadsby's in the past, this was the first time I've ever attended their birthnight ball; in 2017 I attended another birthnight ball at Williamsburg's College of William & Mary where the venue was held. Fast-forwarding to Saturday night's events, I really had a great time.


For those who aren't not familiar with birth night, it's an evening celebration of George Washington's birthday which was on February 22, 1732. While I do not know when and where the tradition actually started, a birthnight ball is held in his honor around the month of his birthday and has been going strong for almost 150+ years. The time period for this ball was pre-federal (1799) which was a few years after President Washington ended his term in 1797, once again, becoming a private citizen and a national/international celebrity.

With the ball being on Saturday and the dress only 80% completed, I was desperate to finish my evening gown. Thanks to the powers that be: caffeinated drinks, and prior experience of being a cosplayer (aka working through the dreaded "con crunch"), I sewed into the late hours of the night and managed to have the dress completed by 1 o'clock in the morning.


Upon arrival, I was reunited with friends I hadn't seen since the Smithsonian photoshoot last year. We all marveled at each other's creations and talked up the latest news of the night.

#Bandeau selfie

Taylor in her majestic "temptress" gown

 As the night went on, I joined the other dancers in the dance hall and was introduced to couple of new English country dances. Sprigs of Laurel (1794)  and Duke of Kent's Waltz (1801). Previously I was only familiar with Haste to The Wedding; now I have two new favorite dances. These were very easy to follow and so much fun. Sadly, I was unable to take photos of any of the dances, so instead, I am posting links of how the dances are executed so you can give it a try at home.  

The game parlour was pretty fun. Mr. Diatz who ran the games for the evening showed us a peculiar game of 18th century dice. I believe the game is played by putting your dice into your cup, you cast out the dice and whatever number the dice lands on, you collect the red cubes based on that number. 

There was also a popular game of the night, called "Whist"

The cards are on the table. Who will win?

Stephani, Mr. Diatz, and myself in the gaming parlour

Around 10 o'clock, it was time for the President to cut the birthnight cake. I wish I had gotten close enough to take photos of what the cake looked like before it was cut. No pun intended, it was rather sweet to see both the President and First Lady Washington cut the cake together. 


I cannot wait to return next year! While I was just there for the ball portion of the event (which lasted right before midnight), I still had so much fun celebrating with my friends and dancing the night away. Next year, I intend to participate in both the banquet and ball. 

Until then, lights out...

More Photos below courtesy of Hancock Photo


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