The Friends of Valley Forge Park is a group dedicated to the preservation of the American spirit demonstrated during the winter encampment, to the conservation of the landscape that contained the 1777-1778 encampment of the American Revolution, and to the promotion of today’s Valley Forge National Historical Park.
9th Annual Revolutionary 5-Mile Run ®
Take the challenge of running a 5-mile USATF certified course through the Park or a 3-mile walk to and from the National Memorial Arch. Children (ages 6-14) race 1.776 kilometers during the Young Patriots Fun Run, coordinated by the Young Friends of the Park.
This is the largest one-day fundraising event at the Park, and has so far generated over $187,000 for trail restoration and other park-wide projects.
Friends Speaker Series
General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette: A French Alliance
Join us for an evening with General George Washington & the Marquis de Lafayette featuring Dean Malissa as George Washington and Ben Goldman as the Marquis de Lafayette.
Although there is no single person in America’s history who has had greater impact on the United States of America than George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette is also important to America’s history – for without the French, we would not have won the American Revolution. Lafayette was a great admirer of General George Washington, and they shared a lifelong father-son relationship. Tonight we welcome the return of General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette to Valley Forge once again.
A contemporary – and true – story is told about Washington and Lafayette, as portrayed by Dean Malissa and Ben Goldman. Several years ago the White House commissioned the American Historical Theater, of which both men are members, to create and perform On Fire for Liberty. This two-person play highlights the close relationship of the Marquis and George Washington and the friendship of France and the emerging United States. On Fire for Liberty was performed with great success in the East Room of the White House for guests that included President George W. Bush and the former French Republic President Nicolas Sarkozy. It is said that then-President Sarkozy, who prides himself on knowing who is French and who is not, laughed heartily when he discovered that Goldman was a native, not of France as Sarkozy had guessed, but of the United States.
About Dean Malissa
A life-long resident of Philadelphia, Malissa has been a performer since childhood. After graduating with a degree in Communications, he took the business world by storm, and then, in 1999, began “Act II” of his adult life – pursuing acting as a profession. As George Washington, Malissa has crisscrossed the nation, been cast in film, TV, commercial, radio, stage and voiceover productions, and even portrayed Washington in France and China. Malissa was deeply honored to be named as the official and sole George Washington historical actor at Mount Vernon.
About Ben Goldman
Born into a theatrical family, Ben Goldman was active in his high school’s theater program and continued to pursue his dramatic passion at New York University. In 2007, the American Historical Theatre tapped Ben to portray the young Lafayette, who was 19 at the Battle of Brandywine. Ben’s uncanny resemblance to the youthful nobleman, the actor’s ease with the French language and spot-on French accent – plus his quick wit and intelligence – have endeared Goldman’s “Lafayette” to hundreds of audiences throughout the country.
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