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Mt. Vernon -- Whiskey and Fables

Mount Vernon Estate is offering summer extras for visitors of all ages. From storytelling by costumed interpreters to the debate over President Washington's decision to quell the Whiskey Rebellion, America's colonial history comes alive.

Children enter a world of fantasy and fables as interpreters weave three tales together during Mount Vernon's outdoor storytelling session, "Once Upon a Time at Mount Vernon." It is held every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. through September 27 at the George Washington Pioneer Farmer site.

During each 20-minute session, children learn Aesop's fables, listen to stories about Washington's life, and watch as Mount Vernon's livestock are incorporated into the stories. This program is recommended for children ages 3 to 8, and parental supervision is required.

"Once Upon a Time at Mount Vernon" is included in regular Estate admission: adults $13; youth ages 6 to 11 $6; and children under 5 free.

While visiting the Pioneer Farmer site, visitors can listen to a dramatic surround-sound interpretation in the 16-sided barn, where costumed staff will lead Estate horses as they tread wheat at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. There is also a variety of 18th-century farming demonstrations and rare-breed animals similar to the ones Washington had at his farms.

On August 9 and 10 the Whiskey Rebellion controversy comes to Mount Vernon's Distillery and Gristmill for the first time with dramatic performances, a military encampment, militia drilling, music, and open-hearth cooking. The date is just two days after Washington, as the nation's first Commander In Chief, issued a proclamation that called out the militia to enforce the law and quell the Pennsylvania rebellion.

Young men gathered at the Gristmill to debate whether to take up arms against their fellow Americans. And see what happens when the irascible miller tries to convince them to stay home when President Washington orders up the troops in 1794 to enforce taxation on whiskey distillers in the Keystone State. It was one of the first tests of federal authority.

Enjoy the tastes of food made from cornmeal, and purchase cornmeal ground at the Gristmill. Activities are included in regular admission to the Distillery and Gristmill, located just three miles from the Estate on Rt. 235: adults $4; youth ages 6 to 11 $2; and children ages 5 and younger free.