The U.S. Constitution came to life for fifth-graders at Gilbert’s Boulder Creek Elementary School on Thursday when Betsy Ross visited while dressed in colonial garb and carrying a basket with a replica of the nation’s earliest flag and other items from the 1700s.
Volunteers dressed as 10 constitutional-era characters — including Vicki Grimes as Ross and others dressed as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson — have been visiting elementary students throughout Gilbert Unified School District since mid-August to promote the fifth annual Gilbert Constitution Fair.
The Sept. 16 fair coincides with Constitution Week. In the past five years, it’s grown into one of the largest Constitution Fairs in the nation, drawing between 8,000 and 10,000 attendees per year, according to Barb Stowell, cochairwoman of the event.
This year’s fair is centered around Benjamin Franklin because 2006 marks the 300th anniversary of his birth. There will be birthday cake and ice cream, interactive displays including an oversized replica of the Constitution for visitors to sign, a rock climbing wall, a military area, patriotic games and skydivers.
Country singer Lee Greenwood is headlining the event and the fair will end with his performance of “God Bless the U.S.A.” and a fireworks show.
Admission is free, though there is a charge for food and beverages. Stowell said the Constitution Fair is put on solely through volunteer efforts and donations from the community.
Stowell said when the colonial characters visit the classrooms, the students bring home information on the Constitution, which “refreshes parents’ minds on how important this document is in securing our freedoms,” she said.
There also are art, essay and invention contests associated with Constitution Week for public, private and charter school students of all grades in Gilbert.
For information, visit www.constitutionweek.com or call (480) 558-4967.
Gilbert Constitution Fair
When: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 16
Where: Highland High School, 4301 E. Guadalupe Road