Thursday, Apr 18, 2019

Starline to host Liberty Day

For two days, the Starline Factory, 300 W. Front St., will provide an escape to 1775 – the time of British rule, colonial unrest and Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech.

In 1999, the Roger Erber family set out to recreate the speech given by Patrick Henry March 23, 1775, read poetry, sing songs and discuss liberty in the United States. What began with one family in their living room grew to an event that has required numerous venue changes throughout the years in order to accommodate the ever-increasing interest.

This year, the family-friendly Liberty Day events will be celebrated in the Starline Factory Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, featuring a recreation of the Second Virginia Convention, which includes debates with the founding fathers, songs, speeches, musical performances and tributes, and culminates with Patrick Henry’s famous speech.

“Everyone can see that our country is forgetting the liberty we have been given. This is an event that can help us understand what our foundation was, how we got off track and what we can do to get back on track and enjoy being an American,” said Liberty Day founder and Harvard resident Maggie Erber.

Erber and her husband, Roger, recounted with amazement the humble beginnings of what has grown into a conference attended by people representing 15 states.

“It took a lot of faith,” she said, “but what began with our family increased to 80 people in our living room the next year and 150 people in our basement the following year. It was evident that we needed to move to a larger venue to accommodate more people. … We have seen 800 to 900 attendees when we hosted our events in Medina and Arlington Heights. Finding the Starline Factory allows us to bring this event close to home – and that is what we are hoping to do – impact our community.”

“This is a family event, and there really is something for everyone,” she said, adding that there aren’t that many events where entire families are welcome and can participate.

This year, the focus of the event will be using lessons from the nation’s history to evaluate the current political state and what can be done to change the contextual ire.

Friday night festivities will feature a concert with Charlie Zahm, an acoustic guitarist and vocalist from Pennsylvania, and Baltimore fiddler Tad Marks.

Saturday events will begin with a conference led by Dr. Paul Jehle of Plymouth, Mass., pastor, pilgrim descendant, author, historian, speaker and principal, who will present the keynote address demonstrating that, as in 1775, the nation is facing many problems. He will outline the foreign policies laid out by America’s founding fathers, the biblical lens through which the men looked and the core themes that were dominating factors in the country’s decision to go to war.

Conference attendees will be given an opportunity to become immersed in this period of history when the colonies were haunted by unrest while anger continued to grow as men and women acting in the roles of colonists and delegates will sit among the guests. The evening presentation will culminate with a recreation of Patrick Henry’s heated speech, which ultimately united a nation in an effort to hold on to the liberty so greatly desired. It was only 25 days later that the “shot heard around the world” was fired.

Finally, the event will include a fashion show, and attendees will have the opportunity to dress in their own costumes and have their pictures taken with delegates. They also will learn period dances such as the Virginia reel and other folk dances in which all can participate.

“It is our hope that families will walk away with a pride in America – one that is being ripped away from us – that everyone will leave inspired and pass that inspiration on,” Erber said.

The Liberty Day event will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. March 7 featuring a concert with Zahm and Marks. The Liberty Day Conference will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 8 featuring Dr. Jehle and will conclude with the Liberty Day Celebration beginning at 6 p.m., which includes entertainment, a fashion show, the reenactment of the Second Virginia Convention and a dance.

The cost is $55 per family or $30 per person for both days if purchased before Friday, Feb. 28. A $5 increase will be added to tickets purchased after Feb. 28.

For information, visit