BY VANESSA REMMERS

THE FREE LANCE–STAR

Stafford County’s history has hit the big screen.

The county rolled out the red carpet Monday night at Mountain View High School for the première of “Stafford, Virginia: Our American Story.”

The movie punctuated a yearlong celebration of the county’s 350th anniversary.

The film chronicles Stafford from early history with the Patawomeck Indians through Colonial times, the Civil War, desegregation and up to modern times.

The movie also includes people “who will shape our future,” a county statement said.

While the county held a special première for the film Monday, don’t expect to see it playing at a local movie multiplex.

The public can pick up free copies of the movie at the Citizens Assistance Office at the county government center. The movie will also be on the county’s website, Youtube page, 350th anniversary website and will also play on the county’s cable channel.

The nine local historians who helped with the film provided a core group of experts, said Harry Crisp, chairman of the 350th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee. All of the movie’s actors were also local residents.

“We wanted something that would be useful to the schools for their history programs but also something that could be useful for where the county’s economic development and tourism program is concerned. I think the production itself was really excellent,” Crisp said in a telephone interview.

It was produced by Signature Communications and written and directed by Signature’s president, John Allen. Dominion Virginia Power, Intuit and Wal–mart helped fund the movie, which cost about $190,000.

Students from the Mountain View High School culinary program served mozzarella and tomato kabobs, mushroom risotto, mozzarella sticks, meatballs and assorted punches to the approximately 400 people who attended the première.

Well-known local historians who worked on the project included Jane and Al Conner; Jerrilyn and Rick MacGregor; John Hennessy, chief historian and director of interpretation for Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park; Frank White; Becky Guy and William Deyo, members of the Patawomeck tribe; and D.P. Newton, proprietor of the White Oak Civil War Museum.

“This was truly fitting to end our program for the year. It pulled together all of our themes and established a great resource to the citizens of the county for many years to come,” Crisp said.

The movie capped a year of more than 30 events marking the 350th anniversary that included a Founders Day parade and school fine arts festival, the grand opening of the county’s new amphitheater at Pratt Memorial Park, the annual Wings and Wheels event celebrating the county’s military heritage and a Trail to Freedom Tour that accompanied the unveiling of the African–American History Wall at the Rowser Building.

“When the Board of Supervisors started planning for the 350th anniversary, we wanted to have the type of events that people would remember for years, as people remembered Stafford’s tricentennial in 1964,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier said. “With the help of the Blue Ribbon Committee, our partners, sponsors, volunteers and citizens, we have succeeded beyond what I could have imagined.”

Vanessa Remmers: 540/735-1975vremmers@freelancestar.com

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